As first graders one of the first things the teachers taught us to do at recess was to “pick sides” to play games. Red rover, Tug of war, later on other team sports. We chose sides for tasks inside the classrooms. From the very beginning of our education, a hierchy was established. The same children were chosen by the “leaders” for the same sides every time. The same kids were picked last every time. We were taught to be devisive from the very start and it continued through our entire school career.
After a while, it was something from which you could not break free. Practically everything we do requires us to choose a side. Take a moment and think about it. I don’t have to name them all, you know of what I speak. Sides. Choose a side. Right or left. Red or Blue. Pro this, or pro that. “Red rover, red rover send Susie right over” I was usually one of the last people picked for any team. I know why now. It was because I didn’t want to be on a side. I think maybe I just wanted to be an observer or maybe a referee. I never fit well on either side. I still don’t. I think it was wrong of them to make us choose sides.
Choosing teams would have been better. There is quite a difference you know. The experience we obtain as we grow through childhood shapes our opinions for life. I have never changed my basic philosophy about things since I was a young man. I have pretended, and acted. I have conformed to rules with which I did not agree. I have assuaged the feelings of many. I am none the worse for it because I know the real person who I am and I’m satisfied with my actions. On occasions I have had to choose sides. But I did not like it. I live for the day when society does not demand we must hate one another for the side on which we have been picked, or with which we choose to affiliate.
I’m afraid my frustrations or lack of patience may occasionally spill over into expression of opinions which may not be popular. For this I apologize in advance and beg you remember it’s just the way I was taught. “Bum, bum, bum here we come blowing our bugles and beating our drums”