I have not blogged in over a year, and much has changed. My blogs will continue to be random rants, barely revised comments that refuse to sit inside as thoughts kept to myself. This thought comes after the latest Sports Illustrated issue arrived at my house yesterday, with a smiling Jason Collins on the front. The cover announces, "The Gay Athlete," as if he is the first. Collins claims the Boston bombing was the catalyst for him to step forward. A moment of fear caused a great athlete to surrender his truths, which reminds me of a quote from H. Goddard writing about Henry James's Turn of the Screw. "Fear is like faith: it ultimately creates what at first is only imagined." The more we believe in the unseen, the more it becomes real. This is how tragic leaders have ruled (and are ruling in places like Iran), placing fear in the hearts of their citizens. Fear is still holding some back from accepting others, allowing for the illegality of uniting gay husbands. My students often write about how fear is holding us back from our first rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I only wish you all could spend the day with me in my college classrooms, listening to the conversations of tomorrow's leaders. If you were there you would know that my students have few fears. They aren't worried about misinterpretations of scripture, causing rights and wrongs in matters of the heart. They aren't slamming the sacred Book of Islam when some of the fearful say the religion preaches hate.
My students know better. They know because they research, listen to one another, and expand their minds. If only the rest of us could do the same. If only people took the time to understand each other, to care about where each individual came from. To hear stories. And that's where we lost out. Technology has taken parts of the communication we once had with each other, but it's not all for naught. We have certainly bonded our globe through our monitors and handheld devices. But we have lost ourselves.
Rebecca Costa has an unforgettable editorial which she posted on USA Today after the Newtown tragedy. She claims that "[t]hriving, happy, connected human beings don't use guns to harm others, no matter how plentiful." Her argument stresses the need to fix people before we fix the gun problem. She raises an important point about massacres and the weak-minded. The will to live "is the strongest instinct among living organisms," and we must restore the will to live in Americans. It starts with acceptance and understanding, smiles instead of shuns, allowing children to stay outdoors, running and shouting with friends. It starts in our classrooms and at our dinner tables. It starts when we look each other in the eye and speak from the heart. I believe in this country, as many of our great leaders have and do; I believe in the fundamental need to thrive and prosper as a nation. But most importantly, I believe we will fully succeed as a whole once we lose the reasons for oppressing one another and instead have faith in each other. In turn, we will be able to create what at first was only imagined.