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|Citizens prepare to walk from Brea City Park to Brea City Hall|
|They walked to express their thanks to our troops|
|for the freedom they fight to preserve.|
|The wives and families|
|of many service men and women participated in the walk.|
|Keynote Speaker Alex Valdez|
|Mr. Valdez noted how lucky we are to be free. He reminded us that freedom comes at a price.
He quoted from John 15:13
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
|Steve Argis represented the Brea VFW in thanking all Veterans and Veteran's Families for their service and their sacrifices.
|The group joined together in the pledge of allegiance.|
|Then they walked back|
|through downtown Brea|
|to the corner of Brea and Imperial Highway.|
|The walkers found several stubborn anti-war protestors, still occupying the northwest corner of the intersection.|
The Anti-war protestors expressed fear about what could result from the war.
|An ambulance passed by on an emergency call.|
|This curious person showed up and appeared to take an interest in one of the Anti-war protestors’ signs.|
|Next, he crossed the street and took an interest in those who were opposing the Anti-War protestors.
I was told he interviewed and video taped everyone on the opposition side of the street.
|He did not interview me - and I did not take the opportunity to talk to him.
Other than his tattoo, what little I saw of him, he appeared friendly and polite - he thanked people for talking to him.
But there's that tattoo. And his skin was darker than mine. And he dressed in dark clothes.
And I didn't make an opportunity to talk to him.
So, when I look at this photo my imagination runs through possible scenarios - based upon what I see and what I think I know, and more importantly, maybe - what I don't know.
And I get that queasy feeling - as my instincts prepare me for fight or flight.
Facing the unknown, in a word, I feel fear.
|Our brains and senses are wired to detect and react to the level of difference between ourselves and other organisms - including other organisms who happen to be members of our own species.|
The more different I THINK you are from me, the more my instincts will
tell me "be careful – this person, or group, might be dangerous".
This instinctive reponse is becoming more and more of an issue in the modern
world where diverse cultures are forced into closer and more frequent
contact with each other.
|In some cases fear is justified - there is little doubt that there are dangerous people in the world. Dangerous people come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
But often fear is the result of a perception, a conclusion, that is inaccurate.
The gentleman on the left was no threat to this woman, even though she initialiy appeared to perceive him as one. The more they talk, the more she seemed to realize this.
|When memories are formed in our brains, the most extreme examples tend to make the strongest impression.|
|When we encounter a new individual or group, it is these extreme memories that we use first to form our perceptions - and our conclusions, regarding whether they are friend or foe.|
|The instinct of self preservation is at work here.
By literaly following the path of least resistance through our memories, our instincts can cause us to jump to conclusions: Conclusions like – “All Americans are the KKK”, and conclusions like “all people with dark skin are terrorists”.
****Sometimes fear is the result of conclusions that are inaccurate.*****
We often have more in common than not.
|Americans seem to excel at finding unique ways to express themselves as individuals.
Perhaps our penchant towards individualism is one of the traits that has enabled
us, united together as Americans - to achieve so much.
Without individualism, would the level of creativity, technological innovation, and entrepreneurialism present in American society be possible?
|As individuals, we will always have differences.
If fear and isolation are the result of following the instinctive path of least resistance, then what in the world is it that enables us to cooperate and function as a Nation?
Perhaps it is what we have in common that keeps us from being driven apart.
It's easy to see how we are different - but what DO we have in common?
We can not discover what this is if we refuse to talk to each other.
|The communication process can be frustrating.
Our technology moves huge amounts of data - and yet, more and more, it also contributes to greater levels of individual isolation.
Learning to talk, to interact, and to communicate - is not easy and is often uncomfortable.
But what's the alternative?
|Do we stop talking altogether and allow our differences to divide us into islands of angry isolation?|