Bean’s Bearings – October 3, 2017
The way I see it, it’s everyone’s responsibility to make this world a better place for current and future generations. To me, civility, respect and practicing common decency are the keys. However, we seem to have lost our way or our will to practice civility. Respect for others is the key; everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity and it’s clear that words and actions truly matter. It could be as simple as being in the moment with people, putting your cell phone down and practicing active listening, making eye contact with someone or perhaps sharing a simple courteous greeting.
Currently, our nation is engaged in controversial and often passionate conversations and debate about forms of demonstration and protest, particularly at athletic events. These actions are being taken by athletes at all levels from high schools, colleges and universities and most visibly, in professional football arenas (at this point). The demonstrations have taken many forms and have been met with varying responses from spectators, coaches, owners, organizational executives, teammates and the media. Some statements and actions have been very clear and well thought out, others perhaps not, but it seems clear to me that most are protesting the treatment of different races and cultures in this country.
Our men’s soccer team is very diverse and comprised of many young men with different backgrounds from different cultures. Like many others, they are struggling with what actions they might take to make a statement and hopefully bring awareness to their concerns. They have worked together to represent their feelings and make their point. Here’s the statement that they put together as a team which is supported by University and Athletic Department leadership:
“The USM Men’s Soccer team is locking arms (during the national anthem) to bring attention to racial discrimination and the team members are showing their unity for all cultures. Having many different ethnicities on the team, we have all come together as one supporting each other’s beliefs and rights. We hope the world can do the same.”
Regardless of your own personal opinion, it’s clear that we are a country that has significant and issues and we are reaching a boiling point. We need role models and strong leadership at every level and every turn. The tough conversations must take place and all people need to listen and be prepared to hear difficult stories, but then have the courage to work together to affect positive change. As most of us come to understand over time, personal change and deeper understanding often take place one person at a time, one interaction at a time. We all have a responsibility to be part of the solution.
While we struggle as a nation with the issues of social justice, we have experienced yet another senseless act of unexplainable, unparalleled violence in our country, this time in Las Vegas. So many are dead and more than 500 innocent people have been wounded, many critical. How often is this going to continue to happen in the land of the free and the home of the brave? Is this just the way it’s going to continue to be in the United States moving forward?
There is real value to every human life in this world and love, genuine caring and understanding are at least some of the keys to a better world. We are a strong and proud nation; I hope we will embrace the need to change and respect all people. Whatever the case, man’s inhumanity to man must stop.