Thank You Notes

When my son was three years old, he sat on the potty one day, legs dangling, and called to me in the next room, “Mommy, do you have a penis?”

“No,” I answered.

“Do you want to get one from Penis Lowe’s?” he offered.

At a very young age, my son was noticing our differences and trying to make us the same. After I stopped giggling I told him no, thank you; that I was fine without a penis.

We humans do have different characteristics, but we all share the most important trait: we all have souls. We are all created with dignity, as our forefathers recognized when they wrote the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I am grateful that our early leaders recognized the equality of (white) men. I am grateful for those who fought for the rights of black men to be recognized, and I am grateful for the women who fought for equality and the right to vote.

America hasn’t had an easy road to acceptance; indeed we see latent prejudices surface at times (including now). It’s important that we constantly remind ourselves and each other of our inherent dignity. We can do this with both words and actions, and we can do it with a spirit of love.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

With deep gratitude I’d like to write some thank you notes to certain groups of people who’ve taught me about our shared humanity. These groups have suffered discrimination and have stood strong to declare their dignity despite being labelled “Other” at some point in our history.

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Thank you, African Americans, for teaching me that I’m more than the color of my skin.

Thank you, immigrants and refugees, for teaching me that I’m more than where I was born.

Thank you, gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons, for teaching me that I’m more than who I am attracted to.

Thank you, persons who are transgendered, for teaching me that I’m more than my sexual anatomy and gender identity.

Thank you, persons with disabilities, for teaching me that I’m more than what I can do and think.

Thank you feminists, for teaching me that as a woman I’m more than my ability to bear children and help men reach their potential.

Thank you Jewish people, Muslim people, and others who don’t practice Christianity, for teaching me that I’m more than where I worship.

And while I’m thanking people, I’d like to add a couple more:

Thank you, Democrats and Republicans, for teaching me that I’m more than who I vote for.

And thank you, unnamed man who carded me at the grocery store recently, for teaching me that I’m more than a forty-something lady with graying hair.

There is no them. There is only we. And we are human. Embrace a fellow human today; especially someone who seems “other” in some way.

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