Whispered (1,156)

May 24th, 2011

My mother and father always voted a straight Republican ticket—from President all the way to dog catcher. Matter of fact, when Barry Goldwater lost the election in 1964, I was convinced that the contest was rigged, because I didn’t know anybody in my little Central Ohio area who hadn’t voted for him.

I grew up in a fundamentalist church with people who believed the Bible was the “whole word of God,” except for the passages which, over time, they had decided not to read anymore.

I lived a life where ideals were spoken aloud but true opinions were whispered. After all, the whisper is the best format for any feeling we have that just might be errant – but we still want to share it with somebody. Matter of fact, the first three dirty jokes I ever heard (and faithfully memorized) were whispered over a fire at a church camp by my pastor, joking with two of our elders. It was also the first time that I ever smelled alcohol on anyone’s breath, although I was unfamiliar with the odor.

Those same two elders from my church were members of the John Birch Society, which to me sounded like a very sociable organization, so when I inquired of them about joining, they whispered to me that I was too young, but to come back when I was eighteen.

There was a great whisper that went through our entire society when rock and roll came along and the Beatles grew long hair and began to espouse concepts which my leadership deemed to be anti-American.

Martin Luther King was whispered to be a Communist. Interracial marriage was not an issue since my community had no races other than white Europeans. I remember walking into a room and seeing people whisper and laugh about a picture of a black man holding a monkey. I didn’t understand except I did comprehend that it was all right to whisper and laugh about black people.

There was another great whisper when we discovered that people were protesting against the war in Vietnam. It was determined that these folks were traitors, even though my geography teacher could not tell me where Vietnam was located on the globe.

I was about seventeen years old when I discovered a second use for my penis. Also, I met a young woman who had just diversified her thinking about her vagina. Since all discussions on sexuality had been whispered out of our earshot, we had no idea about the true morality, precaution or even dangers of inter-mingling. So one night it happened. Shoot—it was more than one night. The end result was, we got pregnant.

Now we were smart enough to know that a community of whisperers was not going to be very favorable to an unwanted pregnancy—out of wedlock, born in sin, conceived in lust and any other variety of phrasings they might come up with concerning our dalliance. So we decided, before the whisperers found out about our baby, that we would go to New York and get rid of the thing, because it was the only place that allowed for such purging. But somewhere between Sunbury, Ohio, and Buffalo, New York, we did some growing up. We decided not to terminate the pregnancy. Of course, we knew what that meant—we were going to become a main topic of discussion by all the whisperers in our community. So we made a second decision. We decided to stop whispering.

If it’s not worth being heard, it’s probably just absurd.

The whisperers had their day. We were ostracized, people literally walking on the other side of the street to avoid us. Our lives were made miserable until we left the community and started a new path.

But I never totally escaped the whisperers. They are everywhere. Sometimes, you can even partially hear the words from their lips as you pass by and they pronounce a judgment upon you to a nearby neighbor. They find comfort in the softness of their tones and the privacy of their moment. But as Jesus said, there is nothing whispered in the ear that eventually will not be shouted from the housetops.

So I damn all the bigotry that was whispered when I was a child. I curse all the intolerance that was mouthed my way by those who were too cowardly to speak their true heart—because it really is not about being Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, or fundamentalist or mainline. It’s not about being Chinese or American. It really boils down to whether you believe in what is important enough in your life to speak it aloud. And then, when it is spoken aloud, can you permit the debate to change your mind? If you can, you possess the spirit of God. If you can’t, you become an instrument of darkness.

I was taught that what was “different” was ridiculous and what was ridiculous was obviously evil. Now I know that what is different is only different—and therefore viable if it enhances the human race. That’s truth.

Whispering has been around a long time. There is no aspect of it that is worthy of being honored or retained. For after all, I am most certain that it was a whisper that was uttered into the ear of a man in power when one disgruntled ignoramus asked, “What will you give me to betray him?”

Published in: on May 24, 2011 at 12:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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