June 20, 2016
Last week some of my bestie's and I enjoyed the musical stylings of the Monkees at Red Butte Garden. Being a Monkees variety generation Baby Boomer, who dreamed of one day marring Davey Jones, I could not wait to see them. Dawning my brightly colored tie-dyed style shirt and kicking back in my birkies, I was ready to sing every song right along with them.
Now, I could go on about how to save money when attending a concert at Red Butte. What’s allowed, what to bring, how to get tickets, where to park and I do have a future post about that in the works, but today I’m feeling the need to deviate from the money saving genre for a moment a throw in my two cents worth about the tragic Orlando killings.
At some point in time everyone knew it would happen, they would have to sing one of Davey Jones songs. How can a there be a Monkees concert without them? So, when they reached the time to perform Shades of Gray they expressed that their hope that we rock out and sign along with their dearly departed Davey Jones. They told us because of the shootings in Florida just 3 days earlier, this song was far too emotional for them to sing alone and asked for our help. Then they brought up video and the voice of Davey singing his song as they played this timeless, emotional hit of 1967, and we sung along with them our hearts full of turmoil.
In light of what's going on in the world and right here in our own country the audience and the performers (Dolenz and Tork) were overwhelmed with sorrow while performing. It was an emotional moment that left me, and I imagine a great many of the audience with tears in our eyes.
Some dear friends of mine are an interracial couple that have been married for many years. They are an amazing family raising 4 great kids that routinely give back to our community. She mentioned the other day, that while dining at a restaurant, when the server presented the check(s) she had kindly separated them, without prompting, for her and her husband to each pay their own. When they asked with confusion, the waitress admitted she had made assumption and apologized. During the conversation I observed to my friend how rude this was, and my friend just chuckled and went on to tell me that this was not an isolated incident and that these things happen all the time. It was just something they live with, something that has become routine and ordinary for them. She stated that this was mild compared to some of the judgements they’ve experienced.
Our religious leaders of most every faith teach us to live life with kindness and tolerance, that it is not for us to judge, that privalage lies far above a humans power; and I believe they are right. It's a good reminder, judgement of people who are different from ourselves is something that we all struggle with during our lives. Yet, sometimes it leaves me scratching my head as these same leaders are the very ones that often fight against protecting all peoples right to live peaceably within their own chosen core values. They themselves judge other religions as wrong and untrue, they fight for judgmental laws, passing judgment on those who don't conform to what they judge is right for each of us. Then when something like Florida happens they tell us we must be a less hateful, less judgemental and a more tolerant people and leave us with the the task of organizing and praying at candlelight vigils and posting useless meme's to our social media.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a very spiritual person that often bows my head in thanks, in search of answers and in contemplation. Religion is a deep personal choice that we are all very passionate about, I respect that. But until all the leaders of this country start teaching the real meaning of peace and tolerance by leading with example instead of with empty words, how will it ever get better? Won’t we just continue, like we have for the past 1,000's upon 1,000's of years, down this same slippery and ever growing slope of hate? Where will it end? How does the desire to convince and change the minds of people, about the one thing that we are most passionate and hold closest to their heart, change and make things any better?
As someone that lived and remembers the hate that was, during the simpler and more innocent times of the era of Shades of Gray, I believe, as I’m sure the 47 families that today are living without a loved one do, it may be a different playing field, but it's definitely not getting any better, in fact it's much worse.