Can we all just get along? That’s what Rodney King asked of us all following the 1992 LA Riots. The world is filled with darkness and light. We choose where we want to stand. In a world where Rosa Parks can take a seat on a bus – and Johnny can get Baby out of the corner for one last big dance number; then we should be able to find a way to get along.
I was talking about how I am talking to my daughters about the #MeToo movement recently. I hesitated to answer because I have seen discussions on this topic turn nasty, quickly. The campaign has become confused with the women’s movement, in some circles.
I believe #MeToo stands for supporting and protecting the rights of the abused. The women’s movement is an ongoing battle for well-deserved equitability. To mesh the two does a disservice to both. It gives neither the individual attention that they deserve
I recently read a post on Facebook. A father was speaking about supporting his daughter when she was being leered at by some nearby men. He acknowledged that his daughter could take care of herself. But, as a loving father, he wanted the men to know his daughter was not alone. So, he stepped outside and stood near her as she got into her car.
Many online supported him, but, several went on the offensive. They attacked this man for helping his daughter. The most offensive comment was when a woman asked the man if he also peed on his daughter to mark his territory? I found nothing supportive at all in these comments.
We all have the right to disagree. We also have the right to state an opinion. But, abusing this man for being a good father creates more anger between groups. I had to take several deep breaths before I could feel compassion for this woman. I sensed her feelings were rooted in something deeper.
I watched as others unsuccessfully attempted to uncover the source of her anger. I then chose to mute the conversation mentally. I have learned the hard way that some people prefer shouting over being heard. If someone is yelling and they don’t stop after you agree. Then something much deeper is probably going on.
Silence can be golden, but not in all cases. The mistreated deserve a voice. A loud one. I suggest that we not rush to judgment. Do our best to avoid entering into conversations where a positive outcome is not the goal.
The woman’s response is what shuts good people down. Sadly, she too will continue to live with her sadness. That is why discussions need to take place in the classroom and communities. Not in so-called social media forums. People need to look each other in the eye as human beings for real change to happen.
For most of us, our fight is not with Kevin Spacey, or Harvey Weinstein or Matt Lauer. Our sphere of influence is within our microcosm of the world. To take our frustrations out on strangers might feel cathartic, but nothing changes. We are only arguing over people and reports that we do not fully understand.
Many women in Hollywood think replacing male-dominated roles, with all women will make the world a better place. Including women is a start. But the outright replacement will backfire. I have happily worked with/and for many successful women. I have always chosen female doctors when given a choice. I believe it is not about gender, but about character.
I very much value feminine energy. When women emulate men’s bad behavior, nothing improves. But, when men and women work together to create balance, amazing things can happen.
There are good and bad men and women in the world. Of all race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. There is no Us vs. Them because there is no such thing as Them or Us. It is a mythical divide. Created to insulate closed-off and one-sided beliefs.
As trivial as it might sound, we share more common ground then the hype would acknowledge. To see it, we need to respectfully close our eyes to WHO is saying something and listen to WHAT that person is saying.
Every intelligent group will have a difference of opinion on something. It is how we choose to deal with those differences that determine if we rise or fall. I was surprised to learn that the Women’s March proclaims to support, the following:
. . . to advocate legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, reproductive rights, the natural environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion,  and workers’ rights.
That’s a lot for anyone one group to tackle. Within each of those topics, there are bound to be dissenting opinions. It is better to choose a united-platform. Such range is admirable, but, perhaps not realistic.
Martin Luther King had a dream. But, he kept it simple:
“I still have a dream, a dream deeply rooted in the American dream – one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream…”
“ – Martin Luther King Jr. (1963)
There are many reasons to take issue with the words, “all men are created equal.” But, I believe the intent is there. As did, Martin Luther King or he would not have quoted it. He chose to quote a document created by all white males. 49% of whom were slave owners. That speaks to the power of the Constitutions intent vs. its literal translation. Also, to Martin Luther King’s wisdom to see beyond the literal.
We are all created the same. It is what we do after we are created that can and will separate us. Our actions are how we should be measured. Not our skin color, gender, race, or sexual preferences. Some might suggest adopting the Golden Rule. How others want to be treated is clouded by our built-in filter. Assuming we all want the same thing, is actually at the root of much of the world’s trouble.
“Treat others as they want to be treated.” It too has its limitations. But, it removes the filter of assumption and encourages meaningful dialogue towards understanding.
When any one group holds all the power, those left out will feel slighted. It is only a matter of time before the next uprising happens. I would like to see a movement of humanity, where nobody is left out.
A movement where we do not forget the Anthony Rapp’s of the world. Those who share in the shame and pain of many of the high-profile women in this movement. But, due to their sexual orientation and gender are overlooked. That is the message I will tell my daughters about #MeToo. We are all #CreatedEqual! It is what you do with this gift that will be your #legacy!
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