Friday, January 7, 2011

I'm Also A Humanitarian

I saw something yesterday that really caught my attention, that a guy who writes for Huffington Post identifies himself as a humanitarian.

That gets me to thinking, hey, I'm a humanitarian, too! And just beyond humanity being my particular species, since that would be true of everyone. I'm a humanitarian in a touchy, feely, sympathetic way. I've been walking the walk, but I haven't been talking the talk, mostly because it never occurred to me.

I owe a lot of my humanitarianism, of course, to my family, since they're the ones who brought me up in such a good, wholesome way. We had plenty of opportunities over the years to think about the lives of others and how they related to us. And with that, the opportunities led to all sorts of encounters, sharing sympathy, empathy, a smile, other emotions, and goodwill with others.

We weren't a spotless family, by any means. We had our problems and prejudices like everyone else. And pride as well. So I heard plenty of nasty comments about people, just the kinds of things that might veer me off the right path and not toward the path of humanitarianism that I found and kept.\

Let's think about racial matters. The town here didn't have any black folk, not a one, so there weren't all that many chances for dealings with them. And people were looser with their lips back then on some of the epithets, like Mark Twain, not really meaning anything terrible by it. But I didn't hate any of them. Then for a week many years ago, we had a couple of black kids who came to stay at our place. I guess they were troubled youth, foster kids, having troubles at home. We got along with them fine. But I remember a fight they had, a big fight, and one of them called the other the N word. That blew our minds. It was unforgettable. (One other thing about these black kids. It was reported at the time that the town had an ordinance that a black person couldn't be in the town overnight, probably going back to underground railroad days.)

I was always told, despite what words we may have heard and what prejudice may have been in the air, to treat them just like anyone else, words to the effect that we're all the same, etc. So that's what I've pretty well gone by. Now I'm practically to the point where I don't even notice what color anyone is. And I actually like to notice, because to me they're some of the most beautiful people on earth, and that goes big time for Hispanics too. So, I hope I didn't say anything too politically correct. But when you're a humanitarian (like me), you have to be open about your feelings.

I saw a black guy at Walmart yesterday and I was staring at him a little too long. Because I'd seen him somewhere in the last couple days and couldn't remember where. And I wanted to be nice, because maybe we shared something in common. But he noticed me looking, didn't recognize me, and said 'Hello' in an uncomfortable way. I started thinking, That guy probably thinks I was looking at him like a racist would ... which I wasn't.

And remember, calling myself a humanitarian, I'm not bragging here, not at all. I didn't even realize I was a humanitarian till I saw the guy on Huffington Post. And that really impressed me! Seriously. I'm not bragging, but I go out of my way to be ultra nice to people. This may sound contradictory, but bear with me. I'm so ultra nice to a lot of people that I don't look at them or say a word or even acknowledge them there. Because I perceive that's exactly what they'd like, not to be bothered by an undiscerning humanitarian trying to stick his nose in their business.

So you might see me on the bus, let's say. And I noticed you get on and sit right across from me. But as far as you're concerned, my thoughts are a million miles away. But I've actually got my humanitarian feelers out, watching for any way that I might assist you, and trying to make it appear as casual as possible. And just like appearing to ignore you, as above, if you really need help, I might ignore you then, too, because I don't want to encroach on your independence in life. Sometimes it really takes something for me to stick my nose in. But when I do -- believe me -- you'll know you've been helped. Like Lone Ranger help, then I'll sneak out the back door and ride off to the next town on my pet horse Silver.

You might ask, am I a big humanitarian when it comes to charity? I have to confess, no I'm not. Or maybe I am, in the sense that I would give to charity if I thought it was on the up and up and actually doing any good. Because my opinion of most of it is that it's a scam. Like the "Sheriffs' Association" selling light bulbs for blind children. Give me a break. To me, it's possible that's where the people on the west side of town get their big money, by running charity scams and skimming off all the money. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'd love to see the uncooked books! As for international charities, the little kids in villages on TV, I have my doubts about all that. Whether those organizations are really doing them any good. Again, I may be wrong, but that's an avenue my humanitarianism hasn't gone yet.

Closer to home, though, and excluding possible charity scams, I'm as good a humanitarian as you're likely to find. I'm even a humanitarian to animals, never wanting to tamper with their little habitats. And I take my dog out at regular times. Animals really have no better friend than me, except the ones I eat, like the bacon I had today. And even there, what's a pig got to live for anyway? I did him a favor.

Now that my eyes have been opened to this designation, this identification, I am happy to count myself among the number of humanitarians, like the guy on Huffington Post. I don't know how many other folks are legitimate humanitarians. Maybe it's me and that guy. It's likely, just to be realistic, that there's lots more out there who, possibly like me, haven't realized it. Are you a humanitarian? I'm happy to say I am.

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