Sticks and Stones

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“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death.”–Anne Frank

There seems to be no end to the vitriolic name-calling in this year’s election campaign. Everyday we reach a new low in schoolyard politicking–who can shout the loudest and say the meanest thing. One either turns the sound off and finds other things to do or sadly listens learning to become immune to it.

It reminded me of the childish slurs thrown at me when I was growing up in San Francisco’s Sunset District. I was a little black kid in a Irish-Catholic neighborhood. I thought hatred was normal outside of my home, at least. I thought it was normal to be called “nigger” and have stones thrown at me.

It’s been many years since those days still in the throes of the Civil Rights movement. But Rush Limbaugh’s recent remark calling a college student a “slut” because she made the argument that her health insurance should pay for her contraception re-awakens the vile nature of hate-mongering and all that goes with it.

Limbaugh’s remarks thankfully sparked a firestorm of controversy and all I could think was “finally!” Honestly, how low do we have to go to recognize that all of this childish name-calling, dismissed simply as “humor” is dangerous, toxic and demeaning and undermines the efforts of a nation that is struggling to get back on it’s feet.

The foundation is already shaky, it doesn’t seem that it will take much more to make it topple. The incendiary language is pointless and destructive…tearing down a beaten nation desperate for jobs, housing and affordable healthcare.

Luckily, the majority of us don’t think or speak like Rush even though he’s the one getting all of the attention. Also, because of his ranting, a new dialogue has begun among those who want real change, not just clever news-bites-for-ratings.

That’s what gives me hope among the rubble.

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