Everyday we have the power to decide.
We can love or we can hate. It seems strange to characterize our decisions in this manner, but bear with me. When you cross the street and you’re looking for a break in traffic and someone stops, recognizing your need, they’re showing they care. When an acquaintance gives a few minutes beyond the typical pleasantries exchanged to actually listen to your vacation experience or the list of chores you’ve gone through that day they’re recognizing your need to share. It’s a stretch to say the opposite of these actions are equated with hate, but giving time and space is correlated to love. And when someone chooses to take the time to direct hate at others, it troubles me.
When I learned about the homophobic and discriminatory comments directed at the Haliburton County Public Library and Minden Pride organizers for the upcoming Storytime readings with Auntie Plum at the Minden Hills library and the Dysart library it reminded me some choose to hate.
I know there are people in the community who are not open-minded and wish Pride didn’t exist. For those people, my message is you have more power than you realize.
Your power is you can decide.
If you don’t approve of Storytime, don’t go. Don’t take your children or your grandchildren. Why direct your ire to others? Maybe you feel like you’re losing your town or something? Maybe you want to seize the power you feel you have lost? Maybe you need to direct your anger at someone? But, maybe, just see that you have the power to be silent and keep your intolerance to yourself. If you’re unhappy, maybe it’s within you to find peace. Although that’s far more difficult to do than direct hate to others who you don’t have a connection with and don’t feel any compunction for the harm you cause, it’s still an option.
While I’m quite familiar with Toronto’s Pride festivities, I’ve never been.
It wasn’t out of a disregard or a lack of interest so much as I’m not big fan of large crowds, so the only Pride events I’ve ever attended were the ones in Minden. I agree with Minden Pride Committee chair Allan Guinan who said the attribute of our event in the Highlands how it offers a unique experience built upon a grassroots effort. No waiting needed and no large crowds. This event that has grown from a place of love and inclusivness. It has an entire range of activities for everyone from the ceremonial the Progress Pride flag raising on Monday, Aug. 22, to the informal with the offer of a lineup of stand up comedians on Wednesday, Aug. 24, to the spectacle of the Viva Burlesque Show on Friday, Aug. 26, to the Pride River Parade where people come to show love and support while floating down the Gull River and then the party atmosphere of the Street Fest to end the week of festivities on Sunday. Aug. 28.
I’ve often been a booster of Haliburton County for its diverse offering of everything. From the social service efforts, the thriving arts community, the varied opportunities for physical recreation to the natural beauty of the area where it’s easy to forget about the world and all the challenges it poses. But I’ve loved the area most for its people. You can’t have everything in life, but living in a place you feel welcomed is something worth valuing and worth standing up for. Let’s not end this feeling.
I’ve always believed we lived in community were if we didn’t embrace each other we at least tolerated each other. Perhaps, this is a low bar, but it’s realistic.
A community is comprised of citizens who can be considered like family. We may not always agree, but it’s important we have compassion and patience for each other and be united in moving the community forward with kindness. I don’t have all the answers (and I’m far from perfect), but I know that when given a choice, I choose love and kindness even when it’s something that takes me time and effort to reach. After all, what kind of world will we have when we choose the alternative?