You know, we are born and start learning right away.  Amazingly better, I suspect, than any of us can imagine.  We obviously recognize facial expressions and familiar faces and learn some of their names.  We learn about our needs, even if we are unable to directly fulfill them or tend to them.  We start to learn what objects are and how to verbalize them, along with familiar faces’ names.  We learn that words are powerful.  And that emotions are equally powerful.  What I think many don’t realize is that their combination, colored by a powerful influence, can create extreme prejudice.  We need the labels to describe things, and in describing people, but the prejudice can make a bloody muddy mess of them all.  After we are grown and our beliefs are more or less set, too many in the world see things only in something close to black and white.  Either you are female or male, white or black, gay or straight, Republican or Democrat (or Left or Right, or Conservative or Liberal; I don’t know which is preferred these days).  Ultimately we are all flesh and bone, with the same capability to love and hate.  I want people to look at me and not think, “oh *&%#, he’s male, or he’s Democrat (which I’m not actually, but I was as a disillusioned twenty-something), or that I’m balding, etc.  I want people to look at me and think, “what a wonderful, compassionate human being.”  I told the only person I ever argue with that I wouldn’t waste my time arguing if I didn’t care deeply.  I don’t waste my time arguing with people who are intent on being unhappy and perhaps-subconsciously trying to make me unhappy as well.  Every person I meet starts out being a beacon of perfection.  Where they go from there has a lot to do with her or him.

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