I’m talking to you, the people who have flooded Facebook feeds the world over with their call to arms, their outrage, and their chants of “we’re not going to take it anymore.” I hear you. I feel your outrage. I have felt your frustration on a daily basis with a Country that feels like it’s moving backward instead of forward. But instead of marching in the streets, instead of fruitless boycotts, and letters to Congressmen that will ultimately end up recycled, why don’t we initiate a change that matters? Let’s start at home, let’s raise good people.I know what you’re thinking. “I’m a good person and I raise my children the same way.” But are you really? I even had to take a good long look in the mirror and realize that for all my good intentions, I was just as bad as everyone else. Yes, we’re human. Yes, we can’t always make perfect choices. Why let ourselves off the hook with such banalities? When we fail to be a good person, we should feel like we’ve failed, not only ourselves but our families and our communities.
If we were really raising good people, individuals who looked at the world and based all of their decisions from a foundation of what is morally right and wrong, many things that have occurred in this Country would not have happened. Now, before I lose you, I’m not talking about morality as a religious tenet. Morality is at its core the knowledge of what is good and what is evil. Basic right and wrong.
There are things in this world that are right. Love is love. Man/Woman, Man/Man, Woman/Woman, White/Black/Latino/Asian, it doesn’t matter. There are things in this world that are wrong. Homophobia, Islamophobia, Racism, Sexism, Ageism, Bullying, rape and murder are just a short list of behaviors that we can all agree on. If we were raising good people, all of us, would these things exist?
I can imagine the world, a utopia of sorts, where the loud vocal majority truly loves one another. How wonderful would it be to live in a world where our children saw the differences in each but KNEW they didn’t matter? The cure to racism is simply not as easy as saying well my family doesn’t see race. Everyone sees race, it’s immature to state that you don’t see race. It’s no different than spotting the differences between someone who is of Irish descent and someone who is Italian. The DIFFERENCE is in knowing from the bottom of your soul that those differences mean nothing in the long run. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a Country where the only thing a Black person had to fear when they were pulled over by a cop was how much the ticket was going to be?
I would love to live in a world where people weren’t constantly trying to be better than everyone else. There are 7.4 billion people in the world according to Wikipedia and you’re worried about being better than the woman down the street? Who cares? There are 7.4 billion people in the world, being better than one person really doesn’t count. We need to raise good people. We need boys that know that the saying, “boys will be boys” is just an excuse for bad behavior. We need boys that will grow up to be good men that understand consent. We need girls who value themselves and don’t think that their whole existence comes down to who took the sexiest selfie this week. We need to value their intelligence and push them to speak up.
All of this is conjecture of course because for us to have a society filled with good people it would have to start with us. It would take work, hard work because we would have to change to set the right example for our children. It would take more than one day, one march, and one letter. We would have to look in the mirror and see ourselves clear for the first time.
I am not a good person. I say things about different races that I know are wrong but I say them anyway and my kids overhear it. I know that my words are forming the dialogue in their heads and yet I think that somehow they aren’t going to absorb what I say. Most of the things I say, I’ve heard before, from my grandparents, which they probably got from theirs. See a pattern? I sure do. Yet, all the while I would say, I’m not racist.
I would say, I’m not homophobic, hell I have friends who are Trans, Bisexual, and Gay. I’ve prided myself on how “accepting” I am. Yet, if a scene comes on the TV with two people of the same sex being intimate, I’ll turn it off so the kids don’t see it, even though I know they’ve seen many a movie with a man and a woman kissing. I used to tell myself it was because I didn’t want to answer their questions about it but honestly and we’re being honest here, I’m not so sure. I don’t want to be that way anymore and going forward, I’m going to resolve to be different. I’m going to do the hard work and make the change because I want to leave this world better than I found it. I want to leave behind at least three good people. I’m going to hold myself accountable and not let even the tiniest of things slide by.
Those are just a few of the little things, the tiny indiscretions we let slide because overall we believe we’re good people. But if we were truly good people, there wouldn’t be anything to let slide. We would treat each other better. We would embrace our differences. We wouldn’t need to be better than anyone else because we would be too busy living our best lives and trying to be our best selves.
We can raise good people.
We can be good people.
We can make America great, not again, but for the first time.