Steve McEllistrem

The Devereaux Dilemma

All People Are Gray

We’ve been fighting racism for what seems like forever. Now we’re dealing with nationalism. Those people (those others) aren’t like us. They don’t have the same values and they don’t want the same things. This attitude drives our perceptions of folks who are different, whether they be gay or atheists or black or Guatemalans or drug addicts.

But all these distinctions are superficial because underneath it all, we all pretty much want the same things. That’s what it means to be human. That’s what our bodies have evolved to desire over millions of years. We want to eat and procreate and take our ease in reasonable comfort.

The ways that we strive for those goals differ, but the results toward which we aim are generally about equal. Republicans and democrats both want an optimal society – they just disagree on how to get there, on the means that should be employed to achieve utopia. They also disagree, of course, on what a perfect society ought to be.

Christians, Muslims and Jews all believe in the same God. They just disagree on some of the tenets put forth by the other religions’ leaders. And sometimes they disagree with the teachings of their own leaders.

People with darker skin are descended from folks who lived closer to the equator while those with lighter skin have ancestors who resided farther north (or south). But we’re all essentially the same once you strip away the superficial coverings and ideologies.

Adolph Hitler was a poet in addition to a murderous dictator. Mother Teresa believed that God abandoned her, and she squirreled away millions in donations that her organization still hides from public view, possibly because she thought suffering was a necessary part of life.

Scott Pruitt wants to essentially strip away every bit of authority the EPA possesses. Does he really want us to have filthy air and water? I doubt it. More likely, he believes that over-regulation is harming companies, putting people out of work, stifling the American way of life – the free market.

The Earth Liberation Front is a loosely affiliated group of individuals who use “economic sabotage and guerrilla warfare to stop the exploitation and destruction of the environment,” according to their press office. They probably don’t consider themselves to be terrorists even though that’s how the FBI sees them.

All of us want to be good. We consider ourselves to be heroes – the heroes of our own stories. Some of us credit ourselves as successful more than others but that’s basically what we all strive for: goodness.

Yet we each define it differently. A NASCAR driver might see himself as good because he donates time and money to various charities, while an environmentalist might see him as evil because he drives around in ovals wasting fossil fuels for nothing more than money and a trophy.

I don’t have answers to a lot of questions, but I do think that when we attempt to define others as lesser creatures – as evil – we do them and ourselves a disservice.

book 1 in the Susquehanna Virus series

book 1 in the Susquehanna Virus series

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