The Quality and Condition of Diversity

ford-coming-together

Our country is at a crossroads as a result of a win and a loss.

Opinions and anger are flying freely in our streets and across the internet. The media continues to fuel the varied opinions of people who have already been incited to anger. Headlines continue to spew words that cause resentment and turmoil to boil within the hearts of those who feel their voice may not have been heard.

I’m from Green Bay Packer country and anyone familiar with the Pack knows how loyal their fans are. They pretty much bleed green and gold. It’s the only community-owned major league professional sports team based in the United States. Maybe that’s why their fans are so committed. Maybe its the nature of the people in Wisconsin.

Whatever the reason, what I have observed, is when the Pack is playing well and winning games, the fans are hyper-exuberant, hyper-joyful and hyper-supportive. But that same exuberance, joy and support can easily be turned into booing and jeering when the team they love so dearly isn’t playing well.

If the deep loyalty of these fans can be so fickle as to change their attitude and stance toward their beloved team over the direction a pigskin is going on a football field, how do we understand the passion of people standing for something they feel in their hearts should or should not have happened in our recent election?

Perhaps its human nature to have so much passion about something that we don’t consider the effect that it has on the people around us. Perhaps we don’t realize how our choices paralyze us and affect the quality of not only our own lives but those around us.

To use another football analogy – maybe you’re seated behind someone who waves a banner during the game and you can’t see the field. Maybe someone behind you is jumping up and down so much that they spill their beer on you. Maybe someone next to you is so drunk and belligerent that you want to turn around and clock them.

In any of those circumstances the other person’s behavior has ruined the quality of your experience at that game. Even in what should be the most fun environments we can be cited to anger over other peoples’ actions. But in these situations we all have choices.

We can put up with the annoyance during the game and go home and live our lives just the way we did before – or we can turn around, get ugly with the belligerent drunk guy and ruin our whole football game experience and probably the next several days as well.

Differences should not produce violence. Diversity is a beautiful thing, but that means a coming together in spite of differences. That means looking at another person as though we were looking in a mirror. That means trying to imagine walking a mile in another persons’ shoes.

It means that even the belligerent, drunk guy has a responsibility to look at his actions and consider how his behavior affects other people.

The simple definition of diversity out of the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: the quality . . . of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.

Quality is how good or bad something is – a high level of value or excellence. To me that means that our differences enhance our lives and our experiences.

Perhaps the plural form ‘diversities‘ has a stronger meaning:  the condition of having or being composed of differing elements or the inclusion of different types of people . . . in a group or organization.
Whether we acknowledge the quality, condition or inclusion of diversity, the decision to accept our surrounding circumstances and the people within them is a choice we make every day.

I may not agree with your choices, but that doesn’t mean that I would treat you any different than someone that I am in total agreement with. That’s the beauty of diversity.

In Dale Carnegie’s book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ I read a quote from a Mr. Johnson: “God himself, sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his day.”

So I have to ask – – – – Why should you and I?

Carnegie also states: “Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness . . . ”

So, until the world turns itself right side up, try to remember this old saying,

“I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

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