I have a great bunch of email buddies who send me cute pictures and funny jokes via computer, and I happily forward the best to the rest of them. Once something lands in cyberspace it can orbit forever. When I get things I object to, the delete button cures all. That way, the junk stops here.
I subscribe to an online card company that has hundreds of great cards for every occasion, and I can send them to a friend anywhere, with my own personal message, in an instant. Sometimes a really funny or profound one gets forwarded, link and all, to someone else, but any recipient who accesses that link will get my entire message and signature as I originally sent it. In reality, it could go anywhere, to anyone, via forward.
Today I was sent a link to a really lovely Jacquie Lawson card with a teddy bear parade. It was delightful, as all of her animated, musical cards are…until I got to the end. The message scripted there said something like “Happy 4th of July, as we celebrate our Independence,I hope we…” To read the rest of the sender’s message, you had to scroll down. What I read saddened me. It was an admonition to trade with only Americans, that to trade with Muslims was disrespectful to our soldiers at war, and people who don’t speak our language should go home, etc. Utter, despicable, hatred in the guise of cute sentiment. I know the person who forwarded it to me would never have penned such rubbish and probably never scrolled down after the cute teddy parade to see the whole message. I received the same card link from another person but its message was just to have a “Happy 4th. ” The first sender was quite shocked when he examined both of the links and at first could see no difference. Had he known, he would NEVER have forwarded it; he’s a kind and gentle person.
What’s the point of all this? I wonder how many people got that same cute, patriotic card with the hate message and inadvertantly passed it on. That’s how fear and hate spread. It starts with one person and gets carried along on a wave of ignorance or apathy. The internet, which has given us the world at our fingertips, also makes it possible for one angry, hateful person to reach thousands, maybe millions of others.
Independence Day, of all days, is certainly not the time to divide America! This country was built by immigrants who came here in search of a better life, and each minority suffered the stings and barbs of bigotry along the way. We should all have evolved beyond the point where we condemn an entire race, religion or group for the actions of a few. My ancestry is half German. Thank God rational people don’t hold me personally responsible for Hitler or the Holocaust. I admit to harboring my own predjudices; it’s a human frailty. I hold NO sympathy for the radical terrorists of any religion that follows a creed of death and destruction and I’d like them all to get swallowed up in the hell-fires, vestial virgins and all. Perhaps that’s not very Christian-like but it’s honest. You see, I am smart enough to know that there is good and evil in every group on earth. Some of those “true-blue good ‘ol boy Americans” in white sheets with eyeholes are on my hell-fire list, too. I am not an expert on the Islamic religion, but I know the Koran is not a murder manual. I do know that there are American citizens of Arab descent who are Muslims, Christians and atheists…because being an American gives them the right to worship as they choose.
All I know is, when my forefathers fought and died to make this the Land of the Free, they intended for all good, decent, hard-working people to be free of persecution. Condemn terrorism and terrorists, as indeed we should, but don’t blanket an entire race with hate. When hateful rhetoric crosses your screen, DELETE it. Don’t help spread the virus of intolerance and hate. Remember, as you celebrate this Independence Day, just what that really means; “Liberty and Justice for All.”