When we are young, powerful forces shape and influence how we feel and who we become. Our future goals are formed early in life by our experiences with family, religion, schools, the community we live in, and the culture we embrace. The seeds are planted in childhood, and they bloom when the soil is right, when we gain a sense of security, and when we have the energy to carry them out. Sometimes, we learn from what we see, and we are determined not to make the same mistakes as those who came before us. Some of us don’t learn from past experiences, and we repeat them out of bitterness and pain.
I was born into a family where alcoholism, abuse, and domestic violence was an everyday occurrence. My father ruled his household as a tyrant. No one was allowed to disagree with him or the consequences would be painful. He made fun of all religions, hated people whose skin was a different color than his, and blamed everyone else for his misfortunes. He hated being responsible for anything in life. He refused to feed his children, but always had food in the house for himself and had strict instructions that no one could touch his food but him.
My father was disgusted by others who were weak, and unable to care for themselves. He hated and abused women, had children he didn’t want, and refused to let others make demands on him. He bullied others and was unspeakably cruel. He lied often, took advantage of others, and was selfish.
Some of the people who knew him, said he was evil. He created chaos wherever he went. He bragged about his escapades, how brilliant he was, and how stupid everyone else was. He had to win no matter who got hurt as a result. He hated rules, and he laughed when bad things happened to others. He was self-centered and arrogant.
When I grew up, I spent a life-time not being like my father. I became the opposite of all he stood for, because I knew first hand what it was like to be poor, hungry, a victim of his rage. Perhaps, good did come as a result of this experience. I became more compassionate and caring. I became a helper to others in need, comforted those who needed comforting, fed those without food, helped shelter those who needed a safe place to live, and never forgot my responsibility to society, my family, or others who needed my assistance.
That is why events happening now in society and government affect me deeply as a person. I want to live in a society where good triumphs over evil; where love and respect for others is more important than greed; where people accept responsibility for helping those who need help; and where a government looks out for its people rather than being bought to enhance corporate needs and the demands of only the rich.
I want to live in a world where a man’s word can be relied upon; where manipulation and corruption are dealt with justly; and where anyone can walk where he wants feeling safe. I want to live where people can exist without discrimination, and not be hated because of their color, race, religion, class, sexual orientation, or gender. Most of all, I want to live in a country that cares whether people live or die; whether the poor are encouraged to rise with dignity; whether children and women are treated fairly; and whether the elderly can live their last years with dignity, and peace.