Tag Archives: human decency

Hurt

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Of the 30 years and 11 months of my life, there has never been a worse day than June, 1, 2014.

It’s nothing medical. My husband and son are fine, too.

I’ve never truly understood how Elizabeth Bennet felt when Lydia ran away with Wickham. I suppose I always knew Mr. Darcy would save the day, so I never really thought through the consequences.

This is a poor example, down-right frivolous in comparison, but it’s all I have right now.

I never understood how one reckless person’s actions could affect his or her family so completely, shattering foundations, forcing them from their home, destroying lives. I’ve never truly felt ashamed to be linked to someone until now.

I’m generally a fighter or cheerleader for the underdog. I would try to find reasons why someone would do a Thing. Devil’s advocate kind of stuff. Ammunition for forgiveness. But I can find no redeeming motivation to this action, and the more I search the more I cry and throw-up and burn in anger.

I just…hurt.

Open Eye

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Disclaimer: This is a plea for human decency and an open eye for compassion. The names of the schools are irrelevant. I am not contesting the final score of a high school football game. In fact, if the students who won deserve congratulations for playing with such heart.

This past weekend, a friend of mine and her friend took their children to an “away” football game. One of the children, a twenty-two year old, physically handicapped, sports lover is fully confined to a wheelchair. Her family makes attending these events a priority because of the enjoyment they experience together. This game put two rivals head-to-head, like Donaghy against Banks (If you don’t watch 30 Rock, they are super-duper rivals.), like Perry the Platypus and Dr. Doofenshmirtz (If you don’t watch Phineas and Ferb, they are super-duper rivals.), like Captain Kirk and Kahn (If you don’t watch Star Trek, I’m through with you.) Needless to say, the winner of the game obtains bragging rights over the opposing team until next year’s game.

The car they drove had a handicap tag, and they followed the signs for the handicapped parking. The parking attendant, however, refused them use of the designated parking lot. The mother of the handicapped girl pointed out the handicapped parking sticker, though it was already prominent. They were again denied the closer parking, claiming that it was only for the home team’s handicapped only and directed them to the opposite side of the entrance, far from the visitor’s seating.

This might not seem like a big issue to some people. Just walk the extra yardage and deal with it. But when you have struggled to lift the weight of an adult into a car, a 50 pound wheel chair into the trunk, a 20 pound pack with everything you might or might not need in case of an emergency, and a million pound smile to make sure the other “normal” children and friends know that everything is okay, even when it’s not, saving a few yards of strenuous walking means a lot.

And what about the child? She tries to be as independent as she can, but there are challenges, like using the restroom and reaching things that people with legs and arms can reach without procuring another person, that wears on her spirit, whittling away her self-esteem and self-worth. Sometimes, it’s easier to manage these oppressive feelings, but when something happens and they slap you in the face, there is no way to pretend you didn’t feel the sting.

This was not the only handicapped family turned away from the designated parking area.

Dear Parking Lot Attendant,
Shame on you.
Shame on you for allowing a sports competition to affect your sense of human decency.
Shame on you for hardening your heart so you don’t know when to practice compassion.
Shame on you for turning away those who openly need help.
Shame on you for acting superior to other human beings.
Shame on you for making everyone in those cars and vans struggle unnecessarily when they have already struggled so much.
It would have cost you nothing to direct the cars with a handicap sticker to where they belonged, which means that you chose to be cruel for the sake of cruelty.
Shame on you.

Because this may seem like a generalization, I note, it was one adult who treated multiple people this way. It’s so quickly, though, that one person can turn into fifty, fifty into a hundred, and for that reason, I am writing this. I call resolution, that we, as a community, won’t let the degradation of other human beings spread. I put forth my hope that this was a one-time event, that this was one person’s warped sense of school pride, that this type of behavior will not be accepted.

Is this rivalry between two schools a legitimate reason to treat people so poorly, handicapped or not?
The answer to this question—no matter your religion, no matter the color of your skin, no matter the label on your car, no matter how prominent your last name is in the community, no matter how much money is in your bank account, no matter how much talent is in your little finger—is a resounding No.

If you thought for an instance otherwise, please check yourself.

Is any reason a legitimate reason to treat people with cruelty?
The answer to this question—no matter your religion, no matter the color of your skin, no matter the label on your car, no matter how prominent your last name is in the community, no matter how much money is in your bank account, no matter how much talent is in your little finger—is a resounding No.

If you thought for an instance otherwise, please check yourself.

Life is worth more respect than you give it sometimes, even if it doesn’t look the same as yours.