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Time to Listen

BY A GUEST BLOGGER -- I am a proud bleeding heart liberal. Tree hugging, bleeding heart liberal has always meant to me that I care. I care for those who have worked to provide for themselves and their families. I have great respect for those who take care of their obligations and contribute to society. And should some bad times befall them, I pray that my choices and my votes have contributed to keeping our world, our government, our fellow mankind in positions to help them.

I also have great respect for those who have not had the opportunities to move ahead, no matter how hard they tried, just because they were different somehow. They didn't fit in with the ruling class you could say. They may march to a different drummer, may not follow the masses, may be a bit geeky. Maybe she isn't the cute little chick, but she willingly performs -- even without knee pads.

Hey, these are the girls or boys who think using their wiles can help them succeed. They may be black, brown , green , red, yellow, purple or blue. Whatever, they are sentient beings in need. And, who the hell am I to judge?

If I see a fellow human, dog, cat, bird, monkey, horse... I don't ask what they believe in. I ask.... Can I help?

People make choices partly based on experiences or what they have seen.

I saw a woman who had five children, worked her ass her entire life and before she went into a home on Medicaid, only made about $700 a month. Her husband, a longtime dedicated man, died at 57. The corporation he worked for and helped build gave her nothing; even took her free travel card from her.

He had died at his desk.

Another woman came from money. She had a beautiful home, boat, cars, summer home and

her own successful business. But her marriage fell apart, she lost her business, was badly injured in a fall.

She discovered that when bad times came, people who had enjoyed vacations on her dime disappeared. It has taken her two years to qualify for health insurance, disability to live on. By the way, she is a white, NRA card-carrying woman.

I had a young woman working for me making $17,000 a year. She was one of my top employees. Every three months I recommended her for a raise to help get her out of poverty, but I worked for racist creeps who refused to acknowledge the work and dedication she gave to me and my department.

They bypassed her for another for promotions. She was good; clients loved her and she found solutions to problems. But she was not part of the white in-crowd.

Another person I supervised was a sharp man, a bit geeky, and needed a bit of direction. But I would leave him in charge when I was out of the office. He busted his ass for me. He, too, made small wages and was never given a chance. Oh..... He was a 40-something white man. But he didn't fit the mold.

I could go on.... But until people stop labeling people, stop talking and start listening to individusls and there stories, nothing will change, nothing will improve.

Crissy Mancini is a dog trainer who works with veterans, an animal rights advocate and all-around humanitarian.

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