Sunday, February 19, 2012

200 Years of Growing Pains

I saw this on Facebook the other day and it made me think about the 200 plus years of growing pains that our country has gone through. We were based on the concept of equality for all—but the country was still filled with slave owners and certainly meant that in their minds all men were created equal but women were—women.

Okay, so we’ve come pretty far. We stood up against the rest world and fought a civil war that abolished slavery.

Then we went scores of years before giving women the vote and giving our African American population a guarantee in the law—if not in the minds of all—that they were equal and the same. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and others brought us away from desegration.

Now, let’s face it. As it’s said in the wonderfully imaginative and funny play Avenue Q, one of the denizens points out, “Everybody’s a little bit prejudice.”

But we’ve fought so hard and long for equality among the sexes, religions, the many colors of humanity we come in, and our choice as far as relationships go, be they traditional or same sex. We have come a long, long way in realizing that we’re all part of this human rat race and all truly entitled to the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.

This picture really made me think. I pray that we keep going forward as Americans, in recognizing everyone’s rights—including their right to find happiness in their own personal way—continue. We are as great as all out individual parts—I’d like to believe that we’ll continue to forge forward as a nation, and never take steps backwards that encourage prejudice or cruelty in any way, shape, or form.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day

And here it is . . . one of the finest money making days of the years for greeting card companies, second only to Christmas!

Valentine’s Day!

Some will make a point to profess their love for a sweetheart. Some will think that they haven’t a sweetheart at the moment and be depressed—other will think that they haven’t a sweetheart at this moment and see a movie and maybe treat themselves to a great dinner!

But, the reason we celebrate is really quite nice, even if it is shrouded in myth and maybe only partially true—or if the legend is really based on the lives of several men.

Legend goes that evil Claudius II of Rome believed that soldiers fought better when they didn’t have wives, and therefore, he put a ban on marriage. Valentine was a priest—a no-no in the eyes of Claudius from the get-go. But Valentine believed in the love and the sanctity of marriage. He was said to have done good deeds akin to miracle and he had also welcomed young lovers for clandestine marriages in his church—perhaps down in the catacombs? Who knows where this was, but those who believed in love came to him. Claudius got his hands on Valentine and blinded him; Valentine merely tried to teach Claudius the goodness of Christianity. Claudius wasn’t to bed, and beloved by so many, Valentine was executed.

In the age of Chaucer, when romance and high gallantry flourished, Valentine was honored.

And to this day, we honor of the memory of the man (or the several men named Valentine) who gave his life for the beauty of love—in its many guises.

So, hey, the economy needs it! Go out and get some chocolates, buy some cards, and give someone some flowers.

There’s nothing wrong about honoring one of our finest human emotions—love!