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You Don't Know Me.

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by L. R. Olsen (website)

You don’t know me.  Is my favorite color pink or yellow?  Would I rather eat Chinese or Italian?  Did I rock or sing my children to sleep as infants?  Would I give my life for them.  Am I kind hearted and generous, willing to help others?  Do I cry when movies have happy endings.  What makes me laugh?  How committed am I to my marriage.  Is he my best friend?

You don’t know me.  Yet you label me based on what you think are my ideas, beliefs, or views.  You overhear part of a conversation and wonder about my politics.  You read my Facebook postings and cringe.  You see my Confederate flag proudly displayed outside my home, and shudder.  You browse the books on my shelves, and grimace.

You don’t know me.  You glimpse a quick snapshot of my life, and think you understand who I am.  You may have known me years ago and think you know the person I am today.  You may have met me once, or even twice, and believe you understand me.  You may even sit beside me in Bible study every week and are pretty sure you have a good idea of what makes me tick.

But you don’t know me.

What are my motivations, what drives me, compels me to make the choices that impact my life.  What’s hidden deep inside me that I have not shown you, insights you have no knowledge of.  What innermost thoughts, fears, and dreams motivate my every action?

You don’t know me.  But like me you’ve probably discovered that most people are basically good, kind and decent.  Most people want to do what’s right.  Most want to leave this world a better place.  That’s why there are people saving the whales and the spotted owl.  The pandas are protected and the SPCA is in practically every city throughout our great land.  We humans are attempting to protect every endangered species on earth, from elephants to gorillas.  Even tiger beetles are under the watchful eyes of caring humans.  Very noble!

You don’t know me.  You don’t know that, like those caring humans, the driving force of my life is to make this world a better place.  Just like those whose life’s work is motivated to protect endangered species, my greatest motivation is my children, grandchildren and the generations that follow.  I choose to save the most precious and endangered species of all, my blue-eyed, red-haired daughter and my hazel-eyed, blonde-haired son.

Now you’re convinced you know me!  I’m “guilty” of everything you believe to be true about me.  Case closed.  Would I be any less guilty if I advocated for the Eskimo in danger of losing their traditional way of life?  Or how about the natives of Easter Island being overrun by the Chilean government?  The Tibetans have been working for decades for self-autonomy from Chinese oppression, the Dali-Lama being revered by not only Tibetans but world leaders and Hollywood celebrities alike.  Am I allowed to work on their behalf without being slapped with your derogatory labels?  Are the North Koreans worthy of our noble efforts after over half a century of oppression?  Maybe I can save the people of Darfur from extinction without you having those nasty thoughts about me that are going through your mind right now.

You gladly help all these peoples, yet cringe at saving your own kind.  You revere a man who declared openly, “I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races.”  A man who worked to have blacks sent to Africa, considering it an “absolute necessity” that they were colonized off American soil telling black leaders approvingly that “on this broad continent not a single man of your race is made the equal of a single man of ours.”  Blacks needed to go to Africa where they were treated the best.  It was better that the races be separated.  Who is this man you revere so much?  He is the great emancipator, Abraham Lincoln.  You think you know him, but you don’t, any more than you know me.

Your conditioning is complete.

You don’t know that as I watch this precious country we all share degenerate into something its founders wouldn’t recognize, it compels me even more to do whatever I can to ensure the survival of the generations descended from those noble founders.

You don’t know me.  You don’t know that the more I watch America turn from her roots, her Heritage, the more I strive to find the key to unlocking the apathy in our people who are the descendants of America’s founders.

You don’t know that I am the proud descendant of the noble Pilgrim who was willing to sacrifice everything to give their children a better future.  You don’t know that I am the strong offspring of the Irish slave brought to the New World by the hundreds of thousands to work, live and die on the plantations.  You don’t know that I’m the respectful guardian of the fallen soldier who gave his life fighting to free the New World from tyranny.  You don’t know that I am the noble inheritor of the Anglo-Saxon people who, by their diligent work and dedication, built a country called the United States of America that became the envy of the world.

A country that’s fast becoming the laughing stock of the world.

You don’t know me.  You don’t know that as I watch those around me be more concerned with what’s on TV tonight or who won the game or what restaurant to eat at next, while the country their ancestors built crumbles down around them, I feel even more urgency to rip the scales from their eyes about the danger they’re in from outside enemies who run their government, financial institutions and media.  Yet they refuse to see the truth because they would rather watch TV, cheer for their favorite team, or eat at their favorite restaurant.

You don’t know me.  Yet after decades of careful conditioning by the media and educational system, you feel qualified to judge me, which is rather ironic since liberals are always teaching tolerance.  You may even feel superior to me.  You believe I’m a radical, among other things, so you feel this gives you the right to judge me, in spite of the fact that you don’t know me!

No, you don’t know me because you refuse to take the time necessary in order to understand me.  You will probably never be willing to be open minded enough to look at me for who I really am.  You will only see what you have been conditioned to see.

In fifty years, what will my answer be when I look into the faces of my grandchildren and they ask “Why, why is my country not as strong and safe and proud as it was when you were growing up?” Will I shrug my shoulders and answer them, “Who knows,” or “I didn’t care enough to make a difference,” or “I was too lazy to fight for your future,” or “I thought someone else would take care of the problem.” Or the worse possible answer, “I’m sorry, I was afraid to do what was right.”

If you knew me, you would know that I will be able to look my grandchildren in the eye and say, “I did my best for you.  I was willing to suffer a little, give a little, put up with the name calling, misunderstanding, hate and yes, even ostracizing from others in order to give you a better world.”

In fifty years, will those who come after us look around at the society we have left them and say, “What the hell have you done to us?”  Or will they say, “Thanks for saving us from the stupidity, greed and materialism of your generation.”

In fifty years, what will your answer be?  I know what mine will be.

You judge me, but you don’t know me.  And you probably never will.  You have been conditioned to believe people like me are too radical, too right wing, too hateful for you to even want to get to know, much less understand.

And that’s too bad because I’m a part of the brilliant German engineers who put men in space.  I’m connected to the German, British and American inventors who provided you with the ability to fly from one end of the world to another.  I belong to the British, German and American scientists who made it possible for you to turn on the lights in the morning.  I’m a little bit of the Scotsman, English, German and American innovators who figured out how to make electromagnetic waves become pictures and sound, put them together and box them up so you can waste your lives in front of a television screen.  I’m just a little of the brilliant German, French and American minds who came up with internal combustion engines so you can drive yourselves wherever you want to go.  I’m also just a small part of the thousands of other brilliant European and American inventors who have made your lives comfortable, convenient, safe and healthy today.  My Heritage, and yours, is intertwined with these exceptional minds.  Without them, what would our society be?

You don’t know that I am a part of those fearless European/American Christian adventurers who climbed on boats, sailed to parts unknown, met natives they considered barbaric, and then taught them that cannibalism is not okay, cutting the beating heart out of a living, breathing person and holding it over your head in triumph is never acceptable, nor is sacrificing your infants to some unnamed god.  These adventurers declared that female circumcision just isn’t what civilized people do, burning widows alive with the remains of their dead husbands is simply unacceptable barbarism and women need their feet the way God made them, not bound up so that they’re crippled just so men like the way their bottoms move when they walk.

You don’t know me but what is truly ironic is that if I, and people like me, am not successful in our quest for White salvation, those who are striving to save the whales, pandas, spotted owls, elephants and the other endangered species around this globe will not be successful either.  The people in Darfur will die and there will be no voices raised to stop the genocide.  North Korea will continue their oppressive regime with no one to contradict their evil ways.

If we are not successful, Haiti will not get earthquake aid and the next tsunami that hits the pacific rim will wipe out hundreds of thousands, with no one to bring relief.  Millions of Africans will go hungry and die of starvation while countless others die of unnecessary diseases.

If we are not successful, who will grow the crops that feed the world?  If we are not successful, who will develop the vaccines that prevent epidemics?

You don’t know that I am painfully aware that my People have not been perfect over the centuries.  No people has been perfect in their dealings with others.  Yet I ask, take away all that my People have invented, produced, given and aided over the centuries and then answer this question:  Can you imagine a world without us?  Do you want to live in a world without all that we have invented, produced, given?  Do you?

You don’t know me, but I might be your neighbor, the sales girl at Target, the family in the church pew in front of you, your co-worker or even your boss, the doctor taking out your appendix or maybe even, your son or daughter.  You don’t know me, but I’m all around you.

You don’t know me.  And it’s a pity.  Because in getting to know me, you might learn something, and not only understand why I am me, but maybe, if you’re lucky, understand who you are as well.