Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


Thinking it Through

I came of age during the VietNam war and so, the diversification of our nation now is not a new issue to me. There seemed to be three camps in those days: my country right or wrong, things are not right so I have an obligation to protest to get change to occur, and the silent majority.  Once again, we have proof that the more things change the more they stay the same.

A close friend recently posted on Facebook how dismayed she felt when at a kids’ recreational football game, the opposing team took a knee during the anthem.  She has felt the protests at the NFL games are primarily a disrespect to the flag, to the military and to first responders. Her husband is a retired cop who walked his beat with patience and persuasion, so I understand well how they are angry that all cops have been brushed with the unethical and illegal response by others.

My understanding her viewpoint is the first step to initiating a discussion. That discussion may go no where, butting up against the brick wall of inflexible consideration of emotions and facts that do not fit an acceptable scenario. But it might also open a window to a new enlightenment.

What has particularly bothered me about people who condemn the protest is that they never address the base issue. They never talk about WHY the protest is taking place.

They don’t understand it is that silence, that negation of importance, that drives the need for protest.

And when I ask people what kind of protest would be acceptable, the silence is deafening.

When there is silence, there is acceptance. There is complacency. There is collusion.

People I know who protest the protest are usually loud in their argument that they are colorblind, that they treat each person equally.  That may or may not be true and in truth, if each person actually believed in and lived the Golden Rule, we would be living in a whole different culture.

But the people who protest the protest NEVER say anything about the innocent people who are shot and killed, not because of their behavior but because of their skin tone.  They NEVER say anything about court decisions that absolve responsibility for a death of a person of color whose actions in no way required being killed.

They argue black on black crime. Not the issue being protested–stick to the point!

They argue women are also subjected to discrimination. Oh yes, but not the issue being protested-stick to the point!

They point out cruelty to animals. Horrible, but not the issue being protested-stick to the point!

There are a lot of things that can use improving in our society. I can’t fight for every issue that calls to me and neither can anyone else. But a strong emotional response sure indicates this may be an issue that needs more attention. And attention means education first to gather the facts and reduce the emotional response as much as possible. To think calmly and logically. To even place yourself in the same situation, empathically.

Adding anger about protest is adding fuel to the fire.





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The Theater Has Never Been a “Safe” Place

Last night Vice President Elect Mike Pence attended the blockbuster Broadway hit Hamilton! and appeared to enjoy it up until the curtain call when, with the undivided support of the entire cast and writer,  Brandon Victor Dixon (Aaron Burr)  made a short address to Pence, who scurried out of the theater.  Dixon’s point was to simply point to Pence’s appreciation of the skills and talents of the cast, many of whom are gay, some of whom are immigrants or minorities, and all are allies to those groups because they understand that is what makes America great now.

Perhaps the curtain call should have proceeded with signs…..first all the women. Then all the immigrants. Then all the gays. But that would have been too easy to ignore.

President-Elect Trump quickly grabbed his phone and tweeted not once but twice, demanding an apology.

For what? Intimidating his VP so much he ran from the theater? For speaking the truth in a space where it could not be ignored?

Trump says the theater should be a safe place. Well, time for a bit of a review.

While some plays, musical and otherwise, are simply entertainment, a bit of fluff with a set boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl kind of plot, many many many others throughout time have been used to stage very political messages. To educate the people and yes, to hope the powerful also get the point.

“Theatre remains any society’s sharpest way to hold a live debate with itself,” writes renowned English director Peter Hall in his book The Necessary Theatre. “If it doesn’t challenge, provoke or illuminate, it is not fulfilling its function.”

Written in 1999, a senior honor’s thesis by Boyd Frank Richards explains how three popular musicals in the past 20 years are clearly evident of the musical theater being used as a forum for political expression.

Much of America is unable to attend musical theater but there have been numerous television shows that have definitely had political messages. , mashwhile set in Korea was most definitely a protest against the Vietnam War.Image result for west wing helped Americans upset with the George W Bush presidency, see there could be a more honorable way.   Even Image result for survivor showed us how lying and cheating might get someone to a goal but not with many friends.

For Trump to tweet the theater must be a safe place is one more indication that his reality is not the same as all of ours. Theater is entertainment and yes, theater can be thought-provoking.

“We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights,” he said. “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”

And by the way, schools should be safe places.