A couple of days ago, on a Facebook post made by a friend of mine, some lady somewhere was discussing the Supreme Court debate over the baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same sex couple. Needless to say, I weighed in and was denounced almost immediately for my ‘narrow’ views which must mean I hate Jews, Blacks and Gay people. In short, I am a ‘racist’ and probably a ‘sexist’ as well.

Well, I am a 79 year old white male, Christian, heterosexual, who served in the Army and was a cop at one time. I hunt, fish and eat meat and yes, I wear cotton shorts and tee shirts. I feel sure my identity will probably make someone, somewhere mad.

Look, I don’t care if you are a Jew, Muslim, Black, Brown, Gay, Trans, or what ….just leave me alone. Do not attack me . I’ll listen to you, if you will also listen to me…just because we don’t agree, doesn’t mean we can’t get along with other. Ask anyone who has been married for a long time about this. OK?

If I had a bakery and someone wanted me to make a cake that went against my beliefs, then I would suggest you find another bakery.  There are plenty out there. I don’t go to a Jewish deli and get mad because I can’t get a ham sandwich any more than I would go to a Mosque and wear my shoes throughout the building. If I was a single man, I would not expect to find a new female date at a gay club. This is called respect for others. I respect them, please respect me. I don’t cram my beliefs down your throat, please do the same for me.

I do not care if you want to be in love with a chicken and want to be married, God bless you. Just don’t presume to think I think that cuddling with a Rhode Island Red would be all that great. More power to you, if that makes you happy. It doesn’t work for me.

If I want to say ‘Merry Christmas’ during December, then let me. I won’t stop you from celebrating whatever holidays you choose. If I want to pray before a ball game, then let me. You can as well, we need all the prayers we can get. If I want to stand and sing during the National Anthem, you better believe I will do so. If you want to sit it out or refuse to stand, then don’t get mad at me because I don’t choose to come to your event.

Currently we have this big thing going on about Hobby Lobby using cotton plants in their fall store displays. Come on, folks when will we stop? It’s a plant, not a symbol. You and I are not that different, you have probably been called names you don’t like…well, so have I. When it happens to me, I consider the source. If I open the door for some woman (or anyone for that matter) in my building, it doesn’t mean I think they are incapable of opening the door, they are probably in better shape than I am, it just means I am trying to help. Don’t look for fault and slights in every word, phrase and action….you will waste your entire life being angry over stuff that does not matter.

Are we divided in this country? Sure, we are, but yelling at each other and setting fires to property or destroying stores where they are needed is not the answer to our problems.

Have we made big mistakes in history? Of course we have, slavery was wrong, but it happened. The Holocaust was wrong but it happened. Who killed more during the Crusades or the Spanish Inquisitions? Who knows? We cannot do anything about past behavior, but we can sure do something about future behavior. Mankind has been dealing misery out to other humans since time began. Let’s face it, we (you and me) are not perfect, we make mistakes. We marry the wrong people, get the wrong jobs, invest poorly, get drunk, hurt people’s feelings, talk when we should be quiet and remain silent when we should speak up.

If I have ever done anything to hurt anyone reading this, please accept my heartfelt apology, I would not intentionally do so. I confess to being a mortal man who says and does things that may cause offense. I only ask that you allow me to explain what I meant and allow me to understand why you feel the way you do without us becoming combative. I find it hard to talk rationally to anyone who is beating me over the head with a club.

You can eat all the vegetables you want….good for you…..but let me eat what I want to…..ok? You can protest all you want as well…good for you. Just don’t burn down my neighbor’s business that they worked hard for so many years.

You can rally and speak out against every form of social injustice that you can think of, it’s ok with me. But then let me come to a rally on your campus to hear someone from my side of the table who wants to speak and may have a different point of view that yours.

Am I a person who has experienced white privilege, I would have to say that I have.

Growing up in the segregated South in the 50’s and 60’s gave us opportunities that others did not have. We cannot undo the wrongs of the past, but we can fix and improve the future.

How? By working with people, talking to people and most of all helping people.

Not just people like ourselves, but people who need help, encouragement and the one thing that keeps all of us pressing forward….that is HOPE.

The human condition is not perfect, all of us…have done things we are either ashamed of or that we regret. What we can do is to be tolerant of others and listen to those voices we hear crying out and then we get up off the couch, turn off the television and our cell phones, unplug the computer and go out into the world and try to make an impact on one person at a time.

Taking a selfie at a rally is not the same as collecting school supplies for needy kids or making lunches for the homeless in our cities, is it? You must (I must) do more than just talk about helping, we must put feet to our words if we want to see any change in our country and our relationships with each other.

God Bless all of you….

Peary Perry 

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