Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Keep Your Hands to Yourself

Early on in the process of American socialization most children learn a key life tool: "Keep your hands to yourself." 

What do I mean by "the process of American socialization?" In each society people are taught that certain behaviors are normal and acceptable. People learn these social norms through many sources. In the United States the family is the first source of socialization, schools and media are other sources of socialization people come in contact with at a very early age.

Most children in the U.S. at some point in school or in their home are told to "keep your hands to yourself." Its such a seemingly simple concept. However, lawmakers and other authoritative figures still seem to be confused.

When our government implements laws that require women to have waiting periods, counseling, and veiw an ultrasound prior to an abortion they are not longer keeping their hands to their self. When religious figures force unrealistic images of dismembered fetuses on women they are not keeping their hands to theirself.

It seems so simple when I tell a three-year-old to keep her hands to herself, yet somehow people are unable to transfer this very simple concept to broader arenas such as laws and beliefs. All we ask is that people remember one simple lesson: Keep your hands to yourself. In the world at large your hands might include your beliefs, morals, and laws. Regardless of what you call them, please keep them to yourself. When you pray to your God, I would never try to stop you. So please just let us live our lives as we see fit.

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