2007-10-25 / Letters to the Editor

When did we cross the line?

I was raised to believe that the spirit of the Creator lives in every human being and, as such, every human being is as deserving as any other. I was taught that I had basic rights and that those rights ceased to be my rights as soon as they intruded upon another's rights. I was raised to be very proud of my country and the heroes who died to defend my rights. I was just becoming an adult during a time when civil rights for all (women, minorities, workers, etc.) were in the forefront of our lives. I came to believe, like many others, that it was important to stand up and be heard and that apathy led to the rights of all being diminished. It has become who I am and what I stand for.

While I have seen great changes in my lifetime, I know that I still live in a world where mere tolerance of others is more acceptable than equality. Life has taught me that the best of human intentions can be impacted by bad choices and circumstance and that fear and greed are the enemies of integrity. My life has been worse than some and better than most.

Now as I enter the later part of my life, my eyes are opened once again to the inequality that exists around me. I find myself amongst the poor elderly and disabled. They are the most vulnerable members of our society and the most overlooked and unprotected. People who are too weak, too tired and too afraid to fight for the basic respect they have earned and are entitled to, surrounded by people who are more than willing to take advantage of this particular frailty.

Shame on those who impose their will in order to intimidate. Shame on those who accept government funds meant to assist this population and then ignore their basic needs. Shame on those whose greed or ignorance has eroded their sense of respect and compassion. Shame on those lawmakers and politicians who have ignored the pleas for help.

When did we cross that line? Where is that magic line that separates those with rights and those without. Our population consists of all races, all religions and both sexes, so is it a particular age, a particular disability or a particular income that betrays us? When did the rich history of our lives become insignificant? Why do you want us to be victims?

Coffee Bell

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