I’m a middle-aged white male living in a solidly middle class family area. About the only minority card I can play is the Jewish card, although, to be fair, the last time I saw the inside of a temple I was standing up front, singing in Hebrew.
My parents acrimoniously divorced before I was five and I spent the next 20 years living with my single Mom and my sister.
My parents were stern, but caring, teaching me about respect, manners and how to behave.
I grew up reading comic books and science fiction, which, in that era, were all about heroism and doing the right thing because it was the right thing to do.
My parents told me I was special, but not better. I was never taught to feel envy or distrust of others based on any factor, be it money or color or religion.
I learned from my parents and then later through life that the world doesn’t operate on fairness or just reward. Yet it was still ingrained in me that every time all your blocks get knocked down, you get right back at stacking them up again.
I spent way too many years trying to avoid bounced checks and maxing credit cards, but I was always able to find some type of work so that I was never truly poor.
Conversely, my native Floridian laid back attitude and simple wants never propelled me forward far enough that I would ever become rich.
My values, from my family and myself, have firmed over the years. I believe in the right to choose.
To choose to own a gun. To choose your own medical decisions. To choose who you love. To choose to go to college or not. To choose your own destiny. To choose to make up your own mind.
I believe that everyone has some good in them. I believe everyone wants to do good. I believe that politicians want to make the world a better place, that doctors want to heal people and that lawyers want to help people.
I believe in evil. I just believe there is so much more good.
I am one in 7 billion. I am one of 7 billion. I am uniquely me and I am like everyone else. Special, not better.
Deep down, past the doubt and the worry, the frustration and the uncertainty, most everyone on the planet believes as I do.
There are a few thousand who try to spread horror and terror and divisiveness and claim our differences separate us rather than enrich us.
There are billions of people around this amazing planet of ours who believe in compassion and hope and will not be cowed or changed by those few thousand terrible souls.
The message, born of hope and resistance, of refusal to let those terrible souls win by breaking faith in mankind’s basic goodness; the message to those few pitiful thousands who want us to fear them is simple…