Humanity comes in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, a wide range of intellect, and great variation in assuming the purpose of our lives.
Our freedom of thought, which even tyrants cannot control, gives us each our basic outlook on life and its meaning, which each of us has as our own, for better or worse. Freedom of thought, which is the nature of mankind, gives humanity its variation. With all this variation, however, there are at least two human characteristics that we all share, with very few exceptions.
We are gifted in our ability to rationalize, defend and forgive, our own failures, transgressions and weaknesses. We are also experts at noticing, being critical, and often unforgiving, of any shortcomings in others. We can be especially unforgiving of the characteristics of people that we ourselves often portray. For example, tightwads don't appreciate other tightwads. It puts a crimp on their ability to let someone else pick up the check. Interrupters don't like being interrupted, and Peeping Toms always pull the shades down.
I have no solution to offer, except to say that in your own self evaluation, it may help you to examine the things that most irk you in others. While that can be enlightening, it can be a real drag. It's much easier to just suffer your annoyance with the idiots around you.
In light of this, I decry the tendency of those who want the government to pass laws to make everyone else behave according to their own personal standards. As long as the churches aren't trying to use the law to force atheists into religion, which was the practice in many countries years ago, why are they so offended by any public show of religion? Some atheists try to get the law to forbid any public practice of religion. It reminds me of the old vampire movies where the victim holds a cross up in the face of the vampire to repel the evil beast. In a realistic vampire movie today, the vampire would call his congressman and complain that he must stop these folks from wielding crosses at him because it spoils his appetite. Conversely, he would be outraged if the congressman made him contribute to the cost of the wielded cross.
Perhaps that wasn't a very good illustration, but can't we be a bit more understanding with one another. Neither atheists nor religious folk are evil. They are both part of the inevitable variation that evolves from the freedom of thought, which is a natural function in the evolution of mankind. The tendency to use the government to put us all in the same category like a can of peas may be fine if it's the can you fit into, but to destroy the variations of humanity would be to destroy humanity itself. I should be bold enough to say that perhaps the necessity to adapt to variations is the impetus which inspires growth in the human spirit itself, which is inevitable if we are ever to progress.
While Benjamin Franklin was a very intelligent man in his day, on the leading edge of civilization's progress, if he were suddenly transported to today, he would doubtless be hard pressed to adapt to what we consider mundane and openly simple. If we mortals lived forever we would progress much slower than we do. New generations bring new insights, and are not necessarily inhibited by the compensating habits of the preceding generation.
In summation; Inasmuch as humanity is made up of gregarious creatures who enjoy and depend on the company and creativity of their fellow man; and while conformity may appear to be a comfortable alternative to our rulers, especially the less inept, who are often at a loss as to how to maintain their office and still please everyone; let us realize that humanity will never, and can never, be manipulated into a convenient uniform mold, without destroying our intellect, which controls our very nature. Our variation is indeed our salvation. May we learn to deal with it. May God bless America
Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org