After the recent incident in Arizona and the subsequent writings, rantings and ravings of individuals and the media, my thoughts often turn to this question: How can people can be so narrow minded, insensitive, ignorant, childish and just plain stupid? And yet, I know there are also people that are beautiful and wonderful to each other. How do we get that way?
It is not the concern of any one religion, nationality, belief system or sect. I have a couple of personal stories where I have proved to myself that the problem is just plain about the nature of all people and the ways we are taught to think and behave.
I have often been hired to perform in the orchestras of different Christian churches. Once, I was playing a Christmas concert at the Moody Church (the most fundamental of fundamentalist organizations). I made a stop in the ladies room on the way to the rehearsal and while I washed my hands, I noticed a little girl about 9 or 10 years old standing by the door, waiting for me. When I finished, she held the door open for me. When I thanked her, she said “you are serving us with your music, so I want to be of service to you.”
The next day, I played at a synagogue in Highland Park (the do-it-yourself-Judas Maccabeus by Handel). While I walked through the hall towards the rehearsal, some young people were running towards me on their way somewhere. One bumped me and almost knocked me down. Not a word of apology. No one stopped to see if I was OK or not.
On the other hand, I attended an Easter morning High Episcopal church service where a friend of mine was singing in the choir. I came in and sat down in one of the pews to wait for the service to begin. A group of people came in and gave me the stink eye. They told me “this is our pew. This is where we always sit. You will have to move.” They were very mean about it. I told them I was a visiting Jew and they instantly moved over to make room for me and became very pleasant and nice to me. Had I been another Christian, they might have killed me.
No answers here, Just that people stink sometimes, and sometimes they are wonderful. Depends on who taught them and how, I guess.