Monday, May 29, 2017

'Always look for the helpers!' (Mr Rogers)

I was reading the news story about the debacle on the Portland light rail .... and .... there was even some type of so-called 'expert' who gave an advisory on something to the effect of 'do you know if, when, how, to safely react to a person in danger?!' which is ridiculous! because ---

-- when a situation happens, it has to completely and utterly come out of your heart and soul.  If you're not wired, weren't raised, and///or didn't retrain yourself as an adult, then - it sadly just won't.  AND - when a situation suddenly develops (as it did on that train ride) -- you have NO TIME! to go through even a mental checklist --

-- but, hey, I give the responding guy a break, too, because he was just trying to fill news space to go next to the box asking readers on CNN if they would be the helpers in such a situation .... since CNN has no comment board that I could find, I thought I would answer the question on my own blog :) and there question was specifically around this situation:  seeing someone verbally attacked for there *otherness*  ---

-- and -- because of how I was raised - and - because of my faith and my belief system -- my answer is this --

Yes.  And, I did so, actually.  And to be honest?  Looking back at it now, I realize it could have potentially ended in the same horrific tragedy that happened in Portland - at that time, tho, that wasn't in my thoughts --

I was in Wal-Mart, at the pharmacy counter, where a hijabi-wearing woman is a regular cashier. In my interactions with her - even when I've gotten exasperated because it seems I almost never get the pharmacy to do the right thing the first time! - she has been overwhelmingly professional, soft-voiced, kind, and polite.  

Well, apparently, my prescriptions are not the only ones that Wal-Mart screws up ... and there was a customer - an overfed, wild-haired woman, white - having this problem at the register.  Her cashier was this Islamic woman.  And - as it happens, and I'm even guilty of this myself - she took it out on the person who wasn't responsible, just the bearer of bad news.  That said -- she did so in a way that was hate speech, clearly, AND VERY LOUDLY, stopping absolutely everyone within a mile range at least.

The cashier looked like she wanted to melt into the floor.

And - it just emerged from me.  I screamed back.  A whole lot cleaner than the woman delivered, by the way, and not hate speech, either -- I'm paraphrasing, but essentially what I said was 'if she's wearing a bomb vest, then yes, she is a terrorist - but if she's wearing a Wal-Mart smock and standing behind the register, then she's a working woman trying to figure out your order.'

I honestly don't remember what the hate-speech woman did, but it was nothing else - no screaming, no ranting and raving - and it certainly wasn't violent!  But I suppose, in the light of three hurt on the Portland rail - two fatally, with their throats slashed ----

The aftermath happened, actually, not even that time (I think we were all a bit dazed and shock-y) but the next time I needed a prescription AND this Muslim cashier waited on me - which was possibly even as long as six months away .... She smiled as I approached the counter, and she said, "Oh, hello!  I will never forget you, but I'm sorry I don't remember your name!"

And I told her my truth:  as long as you'll never forget there is at least one decent American who doesn't vilify you for practicing your faith so openly, that's all you need to recall!!!

On this Memorial Day, in light of this tragedy and so many, many others, some of which don't even make it to the news cycle, I'm calling all of us To Be That Person - To Be That Type of American -- That Type of HUMAN - because - after all! - it is called humanKIND! - and, too - never forget these words of Martin Niemoller:

.First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me - 

The updated, social media version, by Raphael Bob-Waksberg, reads:

First he came for the Muslims, and I said "Guys, let's take a wait-and-see approach here."
Then he came for the Mexican Americans, and I said, "Let's not be sore losers just because the other guy won."
Then he came for the press, and I said, "What makes this country great is our peaceful transitions of power."
Then he came for the women, and I said, "Try to have some compassion for the frustrations of the other side."
Then he came for the black community, and I said, "I know it sucks, but wait four years."
Then he came for me, and I said, "How could this have happened? I did everything I could."

1 comment:

  1. amen...a beautiful read!! i am that person, i am that american!!!