This is a community

Guest CommentaryApril 1, 2014 

I collected my Sierra Star last week, as usual. Also, as usual, I read the front page first. Then handed the coupons and advertisements over to my wife. My order of focus is probably different than that of most folks, but after reading the obits, calendar, sports, and more, I eventually get to the "Opinion" section.

Typically, I read the letters and columnists with a wry sense of "outsider's disease" — that is, only having moved to the area in 1982 disallows the badge worn with so much deserved pride by some of the old-timers in the Mountain Area.

Although I sometimes seem to carry my opinions from places learned and confirmed far from Coarsegold, as a fledgling resident of only 32 years, I consider myself a "local." We raised two of my children here. My wife was employed in the schools here for some 25 years. We will both live out the remainder of our lives here. We will be buried here.

I learned a long time ago that, however I tried, couched, delicately presented, forced, or hammered my own position toward someone who "owned" certain differing attitudes and values attained through long infusions of nurture and nature, my efforts would be ill-received — and, thusly, be a losing proposition.

Addressing the recent fervent tidal wave of controversy involving the gender-thing, I was stricken probably less by the mountains and caverns being created, and more by the manifestation of how we respond to what we feel as an affront to our own closely-held values. With that perspective, I eagerly read input from writers in the Sierra Star's Letters to the Editor. I read on while each of he or she climbed on separate bandwagons in order to voice opinions that, to me, seemed more about the human need to "flock" than about the core issue.

This is a community — perhaps one fractured by ideology. The fact is, we do live together in an area that prospers or wilts with external financial stresses. One that either suffers through the evils of, or basks in the warm glow of the few positive favors of outside influence. That is irrefutable. So, in that context, I can't see how raising hackles in such a negative way over the gender identification of a human being who has shown aptitude and proven commitment to those we hold most dear, is in any way appropriate.

It seems absurd to me to use the spiritual and emotional tools designed to teach us how to expand our love for one another in such hateful manners as have been displayed. It certainly does not present that open hand of acceptance that is deserved by any human in our "flock" who has served us with such obvious honor.

It is self-serving. Worse, it reeks of a lack of community spirit.

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