A Word About Different

The post was scheduled for Tuesday, 01Dec2020.  However, due to the winter storm and a prolonged power outage we present it now.

Aloha;

Although human beings have much in common, we are not identical.  Which means that in one way or another there is something unique about each of us.  Within us is some aspect or element which no other person has; which makes us novel.  We can see this when we look at the wide range of human traits, talents and abilities among us.  There are characteristics within each of us which are distinct to us alone.  This also means each of us has something, as part of ourselves, that others don’t.  Whether we measure the difference by substance, quality or quantity.

We often focus on our differences, regardless of their significance.   In part, it seems, because there are differences.  And we view things which are different with suspicion.  Because they are not what we expect.  Or not what we’re used to dealing with.  Or not something that we understand.  In each case, to be different carries the possibility of unknown danger.  Plus, interacting with something different requires we consider things we normally wouldn’t.  Then we entertain thoughts, manage conditions, and address barriers we don’t normally face.   Yet the word different alone holds no inherent bias or agenda.  It just means not the same.  Anything else is a judgment we make.

More than that, different is necessary.  It requires different elements of the periodic table to make a water molecule.  Or a cube of sugar.  Or a ten year old child.  Difference, also known as diversity, makes combinations possible.  It allows new things to occur.  When there is more diversity there are also more possibilities for things to exist.  In both kind and amount.  Things generated by each of us with our own characteristics and insights.  The fact we are different lets us do many more things than if we were all the same.  The fact we think differently lets us conceive many more ideas than if we all thought the same.   Which can work to our collective advantage; if we let it.

However when we dismiss someone, ‘out of hand’, because they are different; we deny ourselves a chance to gain insight from another perspective.  When we use difference as the reason to silence other voices we miss the chance to learn what they know.  As well as close the door on opportunities we might otherwise want to enjoy.  Or strategies we might prefer to employ, if we knew they existed.  Such predisposed bias is limiting and destructive.  For it limits our options and potential; and creates a “blind spot” in our perspective.  Which can be  destructive to the community at large; when we try to suppress different points of view.

It is also a futile pastime.  For although we are all different, we are each still variations on a theme.  A theme which is directed by DNA and sculpted by time.   So as people we are an embodiment of life force; with its’ prime directive to survive.  At the same, we are mortal beings; who are also driven to honor that commandment by having children.  Thus we have a vested interest in our own survival.  Yet we are committed to making sure that others survive too.  Another way DNA protects itself is through genetic diversity.  Investing itself into more than one kind of life.  Which means it relies on difference as well.  So perhaps we should not fear what is different; but understand it instead.

To find more posts, visit our Reading Library.

Respectfully Yours,

J. A. Stubbs, Editor-In-Chief

Forgotten Lore Publishing, llc

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A Word About Votes

THE IDES OF NOVEMBER 2020

Aloha;

The 2020 presidential race has come and gone.  On 03Nov20 millions of citizens made their choice for the leader of our government for the next four years.  This year, more of us participated in the election than usual.  Which means there were more ballots to collect than usual.  At the same time, the Coronavirus complicates the process of determining the outcome of the race.  For each state has their own methods, and procedures, for collecting votes. As well as ways to verify the validity of those votes.  Along with the accuracy of the count.  All of which requires time; to make sure the tally is free of errors.

This year, however, many of us are unwilling to wait for the resolution of a full vote count.  Some of us have openly called for an end to counting votes, even though the process was not complete.  Which shows how intensely some of us want to win.  Along with the fear that the win they want isn’t coming.  Even though ‘not counting votes’ flies in the face of what our democracy stands for.  It also contradicts what we say we believe in.  But reveals that what many of us really believe in, is  ‘getting our way’.  When democracy helps us get what we want; we believe in democracy.  When that does not work to our advantage, some of us are willing to try other means.

If we make that choice we undermine the effectiveness of our democracy on more than one level.  For we act in ways that are out of step with the rest of society.  One of the ways we do this is to deny other people’s voices.  So when you can deny some of us a vote, you silence us.  And control who contributes to society’s direction.  As well as what benefits it will enjoy.  Which works well enough for those whose votes count.  But leaves the rest of us with fewer options to reach our goals.  And less opportunity to voice our needs.  But when we prevent some of us from voting, we put everyone’s right to vote at risk.

Which is clear from the past election.  For when we attempt to bar or restrict certain groups of voters; we also block groups of people who may favor our cause.  As we can’t tell whether or not a ballot strengthens our position until we count it.  Even then we only know the choice that ballot makes.  We can’t determine the intent behind that choice.  As the voter’s decision may reflect any number criteria or standards.  Whether those standards are physical, intellectual, or emotional.  Or simply the result of a gut feeling.  Which is why it is a futile exercise to try to assign motives to the way people vote.  Because we can but guess at what others are thinking.  Though we often act as if we know.

But votes are not value judgements.  They are choices; decisions we make for or against some idea, person, or thing.  Votes are not statements of merit about a voter’s worth as a human being.  Nor are they reflections of whether the voter is good or evil.  A vote does not define our existence for all time.  A vote only states our position on a given choice or decision; at a given time.  Which may, or may, not reveal the intent behind our choice.  Yet when we assume that our fellow citizens have ill will or bad intent, we damage social trust.  As well as communal unity.  It creates a barrier to communicating with the people we disagree with; to resolve issues.  This rancor disenfranchises some of us, who continue to be frustrated by barriers we face.

If circumstances can allow some of us to be disenfranchised; it is possible that others of us will be disenfranchised when circumstances change.  As they will.  In order for our society to work there must be compromise.  Limited time, and resources make it necessary that choices are made.  Since there are too many people for anything else to work.  So votes are important, because they give each of us a chance to express our wishes.  For compromise opens the possibility that some of our wishes will prevail; and we will get what we want.  But when we aren’t allowed an opportunity to express what we need; we have no vote.  When we have no vote, we have little reason to be a part of society or further its’ goals.

We cannot afford to have a divided society.  It wastes resources, opportunity, and human potential.  Which is even more critical, while the virus threatens many lives.  We need to use our votes as a tool to build a society that benefits each one of us.  We can begin by understanding that our neighbor is not our enemy.  Just another person who wants to live.  The same as we do.  They are also a potential ally.  If we take the time to hear their needs, and consider what common objectives we both share.  And by appreciating the fact that our real strength flourishes when we work together.  Whatever the goal.

The only thing we need to do to build a better society is accept the fact that all people have worth.  All people have potential.  And we all, each one, belong here.  None of us asked to be born, yet here we all are.  We believe that there are no unnecessary people; so our voices should be heard.

You can find more posts at our Reading Library.

Respectfully Yours,

J. A. Stubbs, Editor-In-Chief

Forgotten Lore Publishing, llc