People wonder all the time how I can dislike the area in which I live. It’s got the largest lake in New Hampshire, hiking trails, beautiful views, and some land that still remains untouched by the evil hand of development. While I personally believe that Mother Nature should remained unchanged, I tend to disagree on the matter of change as it applies to human beings.
Some 300 years ago, we burned “witches.” Just about 100 years ago, women finally won the right to vote. Just over fifty years ago, African Americans were required by law to drink from separate water fountains (“bubblahs” if you’re from Massachusetts). Just a few months ago, the world finally recognized that sexual harassment might actually be a bad thing. And today, hate, prejudice, and witch hunts are still alive and kicking.
How can we make so many strides and end up exactly where the human race was over 300 years ago? Well, let’s go back to my lovely New England community and take a look.
First, you may have heard of the wonderful community in which I reside. It has been on the news in years past. In case you missed it, here is the story of how the police commissioner felt about having a black president. While his racist sentiments do not reflect the whole of the town, there are certainly enough people around here who are the same page as this “good ol’ boy.”
Maybe you’ve heard, there is a new book out called Fire and Fury which has some inside “facts” (you never can be sure these days) about the current president. President Trump feels so strongly about this book that he tried to stop its publication…welcome to our brave new world. In the short time it has been out, this book has managed to jump to the top of the bestseller list for independent booksellers. As an independent bookstore, we carry all sides of the political spectrum and on several occasions and from both sides, have heard positive and negative feedback about books that may not match an individual’s views. This will never stop us from carrying any book. “Censorship” is almost as bad a word to say in an independent bookstore as “Amazon.”
Just the other day, we had a customer approach the counter upon seeing Fire and Fury at the top of the bestseller list. She informed us that her husband told before she left that morning that if we carried the book, she should stop patronizing our store. This is not the first ridiculous comment I have heard from this customer and most likely not the last, that is if she doesn’t tell her husband about this atrocity and actually returns to the store.
The group that she meets with is mixed on the political spectrum, but conversations overheard throughout the years have often left me fuming and not just with this group. A group of all women has failed to see discrimination as they carry on about how all women should be housewives. I’ve overheard that “Asians are only good for doing nails.” I’ve heard things said about Michelle Obama that even I won’t repeat. My all-time favorite during the holidays, “Merry Christmas, I won’t ever say Happy Holidays.” And who can forget the customer who tried to “pray my gay away?”
Don’t get me wrong, this happens everywhere; I get it. But here, this is the way of life. This is the way people think. This is they way it has been and for the foreseeable future, will always be. It is okay to be racist. It is okay to crush diversity. It is okay to hate.
Not for me. The only thing I hate, is that this is okay. It has to stop being okay.
I’ve come to realize that as long as human beings exist, so will hate. On the other side, as long as human beings exist, so will love. Let’s all try to make sure that “hate” is on the B-Side of this record.