Sometimes a seemingly insignificant event in one’s life may later turn out to change that person forever. That person was me.
When I was a teenager I took my girlfriend to the fair with friends. An elderly lady was caught in a bustling strip of rides and fairgoers and was knocked down by some running youngsters.
I remember her ambling up on her knees and dusting off her dress as she looked embarrassingly at us, saying, “Can you believe that?”
We all froze, staring back at her, hoping she would stop looking at us. We were cool, and cool teenagers are not cool when they associate themselves with old people. The elderly lady didn’t ask for help, and limped away.
Of course there will always be those who are rude and will ignore the feelings or well-being of others. What I could not believe was that person was me.
My friends followed my lead by shaking their heads thinking, ‘poor lady, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.’
I could have reached over, took her arm, and helped her up. I could have made an example to my friends and the world that we must always love and respect each other, no matter of our age, color, or creed. But I didn’t, and to this day I still feel shame.
That was over forty years ago yet I vowed never to repeat that mistake.
That is why you will occasionally hear me when I feel someone is unjustly treated. If we are silent, we are saying everything is okay. Sometimes everything is not okay.
Our president has attempted to bully us, push us, and knock us on the ground with rhetoric contrary to the morals and values in which our country was founded. Most of us have been reared with love, respect and that we all share equal importance.
It is time to honestly ask ourselves to redefine the difference between what is good and what is bad, and what is right and what is wrong.
I will not stand silently and watch.