Recently, I was interviewed for an article on an upcoming band concert in which I play clarinet. Responding to the reporter’s question as to why I enjoyed playing in the band, I realized that it wasn’t just playing the music itself but rather playing with a group of people who come together out of a love of music AND who don’t care what color you are, what religion you practice, where you come from or what you do for a living. Led by our dynamic conductor, Deb Confredo, the Temple University NightOwls make music together AND care about each other.
But, this should be the norm: people working together, pursuing common interests and providing support to each other when needed. Unfortunately, in our country today, this is becoming less the rule than the exception.
The United States was founded on the idea of “Freedom for All” and “All Men are Created Equal.” Admittedly, we as a nation have not always lived up to those ideals but, until recently, continued to move forward, albeit sometimes with baby steps, but still we moved forward.
I grew up believing in those words. I still do, but the Trump administration is daily eroding those founding principles: if you’re brown or black, don’t think about coming to the United States. Perhaps the inspiring words on the Statue of Liberty should be changed to read “Give me your white, wealthy and highly skilled.”
If you’re already here and you’re brown or black, don’t expect equal pay for equal work or exercise your right of dissent. (Apparently, free speech no longer applies to black football players, nor to those white football players who stand or sit in solidarity with their teammates.)
If the country continues along this path, we will lose the diversity of talents, skills and ideas that made us great. We gain as much from those who “don’t look like us” as we give them. Our life would be less rich if we were all cut from the same cookie cutter!
So, I thank all my fellow bandsmen who don’t look like me. My life is far richer by knowing you.
Peg Dissinger, Newtown