Roadblocks are interesting moments in Life. I’ve encountered a large amount of these within my travels on my Path. When I was overseas in the USAF, I encountered prejudice (and in some cases some downright hatred) over the fact that I was openly Pagan. At the start of it all, I pushed back – I gave at the same levels as I was getting. That lead to retaliation and escalation – and with a fairly tiny (and somewhat private) Pagan community in the Ramstein Air Base area — I soon found myself standing alone in many of the situations. With a desire to discuss the overall issue with *someone* – *ANYONE* – with a sympathetic ear…I wrote a long letter to my first High Priestess (HPS) from my foray into Wicca. (During this particular time frame, internet access was not as widely available as it is today) After a few weeks, I got a letter in return with a lot of sympathetic statements – as well as some gentle advice.
See, my HPS had some experience in dealing with open prejudice – just not in a military community. On top of that, she knew how my moods could get – and she knew where I would take things in my mind. This particular relationship continues to this day – though we don’t see or talk nearly as much. She still knows my mind fairly well.
Her advice was simple and to the point. To get these folks to leave me alone – I should not respond to them whatsoever. Regardless of what they said, I should not rise to their “bait”. Eventually, they would get bored with the situation, as I would not provide the stimulus that they were seeking. At first, the lack of response on my part (aside from an occasional statement of “have a nice evening” as I walked past them) – well, it only fueled them to fire off even more hurtful missives. They were careful not to make such statements within earshot of supervisors – so I wouldn’t have fuel to bring the Uniform Code of Military Justice into the picture. The military does frown on such activity that has such undertones of hatred and prejudice. However, after a while – they simple got bored. I didn’t provide them with a platform to argue, debate, and ridicule my beliefs. Since they didn’t get their “kicks” with me in that way — they turned their focus elsewhere and life got a lot more peaceful.
Don’t get me wrong – there is a point where I would most certainly defend myself. Physical attacks would provide just such a response from me. But the typical name-calling and calls for debate and argument over who is right and wrong – I won’t rise to that bait. Plus, it will take a LOT of this to push me over the edge to engage in such banter.
The same goes for political material. I don’t get into politics. I don’t see any difference between the political candidates – each is attempting to market themselves by making promises concerning programs that will take more than just themselves to be integrated and enforced within the bodies of Laws that encompass the United States. In the end, its useless posturing – empty promises – rhetoric. None of it matters, at least for me. One of the social forums that I hang out in is filled with many Conservatives – all of which rail against the current President for this and that. A few years back, when I started in the forum, I would wade in hip-deep into the arguments…none of which changed anyone’s perspective. I would be called all kinds of unimaginable names – merely because I dared to espouse an opinion different than the majority of the folks there. I would respond, they would respond to that response — and the useless circle of point-counter-point would begin. These days, I make my statement – and then move on.
Just a pair of pence…I’ll toss that in the pot…