Sorry that I haven’t posted anything in quite some time. To be honest? I’ve been afraid to.
In the last couple of months every attempt I made to open my mouth and say something caused me some trouble on a personal level. There is no secret in saying I’m pretty much a lonely guy. I mean, out in this vast world I have made some wonderful friends through this blog of mine. There are people out there I’ve never shaken hands with, nor hugged, that I truly love and adore….and I feel that desire is reciprocated. But, in the world, in real time….passing people on the street, or sitting at a cafe, or meeting a friend of a friend of a friend has been enormously difficult. You see, I have opinions about the world, life, love, emotions, purpose. And many of the people I come in contact with don’t care for my ideas. And so, when I go to write something here on my blog I stop myself and say, “damn…I can’t say that. I’ll get Dixie Chicked.” You remember that hullabaloo, don’t you? The Dixie Chicks were getting some rather impressive prominence, then all of a sudden they spoke their minds and SPLAT…..that was the end of them. And to be frank, I’m in no financial situation to speak frankly. One wrong blog and I’m out….shut out, condemned, and boycotted.
Now, I wouldn’t take so much of this to heart f it has not happened in real time. Its easy to lose two to five strangers you meet through encounters. Its another thing to lose thousands of people with one open and honest idea about your politics or your religious beliefs. So, I’ve been so TERRIFIED of saying anything at all….for fear the moment I do it will cost me a ton of people I’ve grown to love, but never met. You. I’ve been afraid of losing YOU.
I criticized the president and I was called a racist. I confirmed that I was a conservative and I was called a Nazi. And when I said I was gay, I was a traitor and told I ought to be “drug into the streets and shot for betrayal.” That a gay, Christian, conservative was in no way different than a “Jew helping the Nazis.” And then when they find out I’m from the South, well, then that’s all they need. I’m already a homophobic, racist, sexist, backwards, uneducated, inbred idiot. I was called a “‘Murican.” And I had to go find out what they meant. Definition is simple: someone overly patriotic…usually a homophobic, racist, sexist, backwards, uneducated, inbred idiot.
We’re not going to talk politics now. No. We can save that for some other time. I’m weary of it at the moment. I want to talk more about the strangeness of being called a traitor if you’re a patriot. I could walk the street right now, walk away from this blog in a moments notice holding an American flag, strut down Bumby Avenue holding it high saying the Pledge of Allegiance and no one in this neighborhood would applaud. They’d call me crazy, weird, suspect, extremist, a doomsday prepper, a militant….’Murican.
I want to talk about the hypocrisy that my gay brothers have fallen into. For decades we have fought for acceptance, tolerance, not to be treated special, but to treated with the same dignity as anyone else…..and yet, most of the gay organizations I tried to align myself with were adamant that conservatism, Christianity, and dislike of this current president were completely and unequivocally unwelcome. They would not tolerate it. They would not accept it. They would not treat it as another opinion thrown into the thought process. My gay brothers are forcing tolerance onto many with the idea of boycott….and I don’t like it.
So this blog post isn’t about one political idea over another. I really only like to do those discussion face to face. We can be vulnerable in front of each other….and often times patient with each other. And discuss, and get passionate and angry and agreeable, because we can look into each others eyes. And more so? When all is said and done, we can shake hands and walk away having learned something or taught something. This blog post is more about the concept of dismissal. If I don’t like your ideas……then I want to get rid of you for good. And that ain’t the ‘Murica I live in.
Funny that I can be so prone to really like someone of a liberal mindset, but they won’t allow me the time to discuss my ideas. I’m immediately dismissed. I’ve never said to anyone that I hated them. I’ve never said to anyone that I hated them for their politics. Hell, my best friend, Kara, is a socialist. I’ve never said to anyone I didn’t like them because they were gay. I never said I hated anyone because they approved of Barack Obama. But, If I HAD done any of those things, I’d be put in a shit can, shook around in social media, then tossed to the side never to sell another book or bear again.
But, every once in a while you have take an enormous stand. I’ve been afraid to say whats on my mind because I thought you would leave me. I am a lonely man, spending hours and hours a day alone and knitting out my teddy bears. And in those lonely hours my mind goes so fast and quick with ideas and thoughts that I can’t wait to write them down…..but wait! You could lose your supporters. So, there has been this fear that if I say something, I’m toast. And that’s the problem I have….the situation this media has made out for us….that your opinion will destroy you, if its not one we agree with. And if you’re on social media???? Well, gives new meaning to the term “social disease.”
But, I’m here….and I’ve always been a scrappy little guy. A survivor. I don’t want to see any of you leave because you disagree, I want you to stay. I want dialogue, I love it. I want us to EXERCISE the rights handed to us by the First Amendment, not cower under them, not fear them. I want us to USE them. Isn’t that some of the best conversations that come out of “sip and knits,” or “bitch and stich” gatherings? Us knitters know them well. We sit back with a group of people, work up our projects and talk….sometimes gossip, politics, sometimes technique. It all depends. But, we share.
On the knitting front, I’m pushing bears out daily, and its going well. I’m using technology (ok, the USPS website) to let people know postage has been paid, now the bear has been shipped, now the bear is one day away from your front door.
On the email front. I’m getting about 200 per day, and its gotten really REALLY hard to spend the time going through them. I know that’s not an excuse, but if I don’t respond quickly, its not because I’m not trying. And hopefully, if I start making more money I can actually hire someone (yay capitalism!) and have them help me with the administrative stuff. I can see it now: I’m sitting, knitting and my “assistant” says, “you have an order for two more bears and Heather wants to know where hers is.” And I can easily just say, “Pull out Heather’s order and let’s see what we can do….”
So, I guess in a nutshell what I’m trying to say is I’m very sorry for not having written anything sooner. (Giovanni! I SAW YOUR EMAIL! WILL RESPOND PROMPTLY!) But, I’ve been really REALLY worried that if I embark on blog posts that mean something to me, that many of you would flee……but, I can’t see that happening anymore. I can’t. Because the more I think of it, what we share is something that transcends politics and religion. It moves higher than geographic boundaries and cultural differences. What we share, does however, move into uncharted terrains of peace, love, compassion……and above all, hope and tolerance for each and every one of us who come here to share. One topic at a time, one idea at a time…..
One stitch at a time.
God Bless ‘Murica.