Mr Bulldozer Man

bulldozer

Today I found myself thinking about a conversation I had a few years ago  with  the guy who did the bulldozer work,  on the housing development we were framing in.

He was my kind of guy…

A little scruffy.

Would not put up any guff from the developer we were both working for.

Bulldozer man and I were taking  coffee break together one morning,  catching up on things because  he’d  just gotten out of jail I (again) for driving without a license.   He wanted to show me a berm he had been working on between the pond and a deep ditch before he went to jail.

After we walked over the berm he started to get animated…He started to vent and make some generalized  negative statements about Muslims.  I told him, I did not profess to be an expert on  Islam…but after 9/11 I have tried to get a  basic working knowledge of the religion, and the conclusions he was drawing at that time were simply not true.  These kind of conversations I am very selective about entering.  Having been married for over 35 years to the same person, I know how to have a robust conversation with someone who may not see things the same way…and as long as both parties abide by some basic ground rules,  a lot  of good can come out of them.  If on the other hand, one party doesn’t play fair ( name calling, unwillingness to listen, doesn’t respect, makes “you always” or you never” statements, then you might as well pack it up your toys and walk away.  I had a personal motivation for challenging this burly young mans thinking…one of my good  friends is married to a Muslim, and to remain quiet would have felt like  betrayal, even though she was 1000 miles away, and would never hear about the conversation unless I told her.  (Did I ever tell you  LMS ;-)?) By the end of coffee break, the lights had turned on with Mr Bulldozer man.

I sensed a sigh of relief.  Not all Muslims were terrorists!  In fact, just a small fraction of them were.

Just as not all white conservative Christian men secretly belong to the KKK and like to dress up in pointy sheets.  I know several hundred Christian  men of various races personally  and I have never/ ever met a single kkk member.  So the next time you are tempted to believe some outlandish story about some  “Christian”white guy you’ve read about on the Internet, do me a favor and push the pause button.

Shoot me a note.

Ask me what I think….you may be in for a surprise.

Back to Mr Bulldozer man….His attitude  had been flowing out of some serious mis-information  and when I started to explain there were at least 3 major branches of Islam (and multiple subsets within them).  It was important to know most of them were just like he and I…just everyday people trying to raise  families, pay bills and get along.

______________________________

A portion of the following poem hangs in the entryway of our home. It also captures some of what I’m trying to say…

 

Let me live in my house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by;
They are good, they are bad, they are weak,
They are strong,
Wise, foolish – so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat
Or hurl the cynic’s ban? –
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)

 

 

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13 thoughts on “Mr Bulldozer Man

  1. Doug, if WordPress provided a heart as an option instead of just “Like”, as Facebook does now, that’s what I would have chosen for this post. Being outside the U.S. and not knowing how individuals feel in the aftermath of this vitriolic, divisive election, I try to stay away from the subject with Americans I don’t know well. Reading almost all of your posts, and especially this one, and coming from Red Iowa, warms the cockles of my heart and gives me hope. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane, always good to hear from you. You have to believe me when I tell you, in the same way certain people in the culture…like to stir up trouble and paint all Muslims as terrorists, so too, I as a white Christian male have felt stereotyped and portrayed (for years) as some kind of thug. It is simply not true. Nor is it true as I alluded to in the post for the men I know. These kind of generalizations are unsettling and dangerous and breed fear and anger.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, DM, as a person (as you well know!) with Christians, Jews, and Muslims ALL in my family, I really, really appreciate this post. (If you want to know how much, I shared it with my parents and my brother because it really touched me).

    I forget where I saw this, but “Each one, teach one” is a phrase that comes to mind…I really appreciate you teaching yourself and then choosing to enlighten someone else. I have run across a lot of bigotry here in my Brooklyn, NY neighborhood and BOY have I run across it online. And you’re right, it cuts both ways…I can go some places and hear all about how terrible Muslims are, and go other places and hear all about how fundamentalist Christians are intolerant, close-minded, extreme. And the stereotypes of Jews are ongoing too! In practice, I’ve found that most people of most religions (and people of no-religion too!) are most busy just trying to put food on the table, working, keeping their heads down, trying to be decent and reasonable in their interactions. What I’ve also found is that ANY person of almost any religion, who operates from a point of love and compassion– who constantly challenges THEMSELVES to “be good” as their religion requires (and who spends a little less–or a lot less– time demanding that EVERYONE ELSE be good, and tries to leave SOME of the judgement up to God)– can be a beacon of light and hope– and an example to others. As I often find you to be. I have learned a lot from you…keep on preaching, from your orchard-pulpit, blog-pulpit, bulldozer-seat-pews…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Trying to be reasonable is good but I’ve got a thought which seems to hold good most of the time.
    You wrote:-Not all Muslims were terrorists!
    OK I’ll go along with that if in return you’ll understand that from experience and events I’ve found that nearly every terrorist is a Muslim.
    This is not a numbers game though.
    There are areas within a few hours drive that are no go areas to whites and especially Christians. Take a flying guess at what the ‘dominant’ religion of the area is.

    Self preservation alone colours my judgement when transiting such places.
    Locked doors, mace, pickaxe handle, the usual “don’t ‘uck with me tools”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • totally agree! Reminds me of driving through parts of Paterson New Jersey. The evil and fear was palatable . The streets were dirty and depressing. Even during the day it felt dark. I did not feel safe. On a related note. I can’t quite wrap my brain around these “sanctuary cities” we have in our country.didn’t even know they existed until this election. That concept is part of the swamp that needs to be drained. Truth, and the rule of law has taken a bad bad beating stateside

      Liked by 1 person

      • We’ve got major cities and townships which have been taken over by “them”. Londonstan being one of them.

        With puppet local government and a muzzled police force who only put their energy into catching white folk.

        We call it white flight what then occurs as the penny drops among the indigenous English.

        Like

  4. hey Doug, I know your heart is always in the right place when speaking to people about things. The world is evil, people are sinners and regardless of nationality or religion, evil exists.
    We still need to be the light and love to all we meet and try to change the world, one person at a time.

    *your psych ward buddy, Lucy

    Liked by 1 person

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