Before I begin my weekly thoughts, I want to first thank Great West Newspapers for welcoming our Scoop family into their organization, and for allowing me to continue to engage our community from within the pages of the Airdrie City View. It will be a few weeks before we are all fully settled into our new roles, but I can already tell there is a common drive and desire to serve our community and elevate local businesses.
Being included allows a person to feel valued. It’s nice to feel wanted. It’s a great feeling to know you’re respected. It’s always an honour to be welcomed into another’s home. With that in mind, let's embark on a field trip on inclusiveness.
By now, I’m sure everyone in our community knows about the second act of vandalism on the rainbow pathway at Nose Creek Regional Park. The first act saw someone paint very derogative terms and symbols on the pathway. The City of Airdrie's Parks department was quick to cover them, and the next day, a small army of volunteers repainted the rainbow pathway brighter than ever. You can only imagine how disheartened the community as a whole felt when some coward threw tar and feathers on the new paint June 27.
I say community as a whole because the majority of us believe in equal rights. The majority of us believe that everyone has value and deserves respect and dignity. Above all, the majority of us have experienced some form of bigotry, fear or bullying simply because someone else didn’t like how we looked or what we believe. I doubt there is anyone who hasn’t had their worth challenged by some form of prejudice because of their appearance, religion, race, intelligence, country of origin, language or, yes, gender identification and sexual orientation.
Our history books are filled with records of wars fought over religion. Believe it or not, religion is the number one cause of war in recorded history. The second cause of war throughout history is ethnicity. In fact, there are still cases of ethnic cleansing atrocities happening today. They may not be on a scale as large as the Holocaust of the Second World War, but they are atrocities nonetheless. Sadly, not everyone in our world has embraced inclusiveness. Their hatred is born of ignorance.
Humankind is the only species on earth who is its own most feared predator. Why? Prejudicial beliefs.
We, however, are blessed to live in a country that educates its people. We can learn from history so as not to repeat it. We recognize that every single one of us possesses traits that could cause another to dislike us. Every one of us is at risk should prejudice lead someone to turn on us. But there is power in numbers, folks. Therefore, we also recognize it’s important to stand with those that endure the hate that prejudice breeds. By doing so, the combined voices of the masses will drown out the voices of the ill-informed minority.
No matter how many times someone vandalizes the rainbow pathway, the community as a whole will see that it is cleaned up. There are many more people willing to stand with the LGBTQ+ community because they empathize with their struggle. Those that resort to hatred are vastly outnumbered by those that embrace acceptance and love. In the words of Mayor Peter Brown, “If you choose to write words of hatred, bigotry or intolerance, your tiny voices will be cleaned up and washed away”
I actually kind of feel sorry for those pathetic souls filled with so much hate. They must be very lonely.