I believe the first thing I ever got into big time and am still into to this day, is cars. "Eric's always liked to play with cars," they'd say. Play with, draw, look at, admire, drive, dream of: Cars.
So today I was out driving, and happened to be following behind a car that was the same generation and model as mine. Now being a car guy, I'm the type that gets excited when such an event occurs. So even though the kind of car I have isn't exactly exclusive, they are somewhat rare to see, so my first reaction as usual was something like "yes, a fellow Brother in Car! I shall follow you to the ends of this road, my friend--or until I need to turn off at least, should that happen to me first anyway. But as I got closer to him approaching a red light, I noticed a bumper sticker on his car which read "Just cuz you live on the islands, don't make you a local". I should mention that I am living in Hawaii, but no, I am not in fact a local to these beautiful islands. I am however a "local" to this Earth and a fellow human being, so when I see things like this, all I can do is shake my head... to its message and its grammar.
The reason I believe there is so much violence and grief in the world, is because we tend to find ways to separate ourselves (meaning humans) into different groups. Race, nationality, gender - even something like which sports teams we choose to root for. All ways to divide ourselves into groups. Some of it I believe is fairly harmless, or all in good fun, such as cheering for different sports teams. Some of it though is saddening, like this bumper sticker. What do you think that sticker is trying to achieve? What point is it trying to get across? It certainly isn't welcoming, is it? It invites discomfort, a reminder that you're an "outsider". For someone like me, however, it just makes me a bit sad that a fellow "Brother in Car" and human shamelessly believes the way he does. See the thing is, where you are born is not up to you. Nor are you the owner of the piece of land where you happened to have been born. I was born in Texas, but that doesn't mean Texas is mine, or that I wish only people born in Texas would live there. I understand it's a bit different with a place like Hawaii, because the land is much more limited than a place like Texas, and much more highly desired. But still - that's just another means of dividing ourselves instead of uniting and trying to make the entire Earth a better place for everyone to live. So long as they're not trying to hurt you or the land you reside in, I believe we should be inviting and welcoming to "outsiders" and get to know people from other places, as well as travel and see other places ourselves to get to know different cultures and ways of living. I worked with many Pacific Islanders at my last job in Texas, all of them were very nice and interesting people. There are good people no matter where you go, and there are some you'd rather not deal with. Surround yourself with the good, and ignore the bad as much as possible, I say. Like the old Guns N' Roses song indicates, any fighting/violence/war is a civil war. We're all one people, we're all one race, we're all one group - we're all "locals" here, or anywhere on this planet. We're in this together, my friends... Peace!