Anne Frank: ‘We all live with the objective of being happy…’
John Dick/PW

The words of a fourteen-year-old girl living in hiding during World War II. She was Jewish and the Nazis killed her and her family. Intolerance. The lack of seeing someone else as an equal human being because they are different from you.

The perceived threat that this “different” person will cause harm to you or your society if allowed to live and act in their “different” manner. Kid Rock spraying beer cans with bullets from an assault rifle while smiling at the camera and flipping his tiny bird.

Kid Rock has long hair. There is a famous scene in Easy Rider, the classic biker movie from the sixties. Captain America, along with his chopper comrades Billy and George, sit at a restaurant in a small southern town. The local sheriff, along with some locals, starts to make fun of Captain America and Billy’s hair. “Check out the girls with the long hair. They look like a bunch of refugees from a gorilla love-in. What do you think we oughta do with them?”

The bikers leave without eating as the sheriff gives them a menacing stare. That night, the group is attacked while sleeping under the stars. George’s head is chopped off with an axe. The locals gave him a haircut.

I am eleven years old. My father had long hair in 1970. His nickname was “Moses”. The rodeo was in town at the State Fairgrounds. Moses and his “longhaired” biker friend were at the nearby coney island on Woodward when the rodeo cowboys came in for a bite to eat. The cowboys, being the gents that they were, decided to pin down my dad’s friend and “give the sissy a haircut” with a buck knife.

Moses jumped in to save his friend and was beaten to a pulp by the guys with the funny hats and fancy boots. An employee of the coney island, a young man in his twenties, was stabbed in the fray and died. The cowboys left town before the police showed up, and were never charged with the murder. Real men they were, not sissy boys. After that night, Moses would never again listen to “Okie from Muskogee.”

Now, many of the male country singers got long hair down to their butts. Are they the sissies, girls, faggots, and commies that their fathers and grandfathers called the “longhairs” back in the day? I imagine Jesus was really pissed back in the fifties, sixties, and seventies, what with his choice of hairstyle and all. We have changed our perceptions of the men’s “longhair”, but yet we haven’t really changed. The “good Christians” of this country have found other physical appearances to demonize. And it has gotten really ugly. Passing laws and shootin’ up beer cans, and sometimes the people holding the beer cans. And children.

What is a man and what is a woman? I don’t really know and I would defy anyone to explain it to me in a way that makes sense. When I was a boy, I played with G.I. Joe dolls. Girls played with Barbies. I took the clothes off both of them and guess what? Absolutely no genitalia! Apparently, not even the doll makers knew the difference between a man and a woman. The only difference I figured out is you could blow up a G.I. Joe with a firecracker and not get slapped across the head by your sister.

Unbeknownst to me, a local bookstore on Saturdays was hosting drag queen storytime. Local drag queens would read books to the kids with the parents in attendance. It was a fun way to get the little ones interested in books rather than staring at electronic devices.

A Republican club from the west side of the state found this so offensive they decided to protest the store. They believed the drag queens were indoctrinating the kids into their “lifestyle.”

Twenty of them showed up to intimidate the parents and kids, as good Christians do. The bookstore had to hire security to ensure that the story time was peaceful. Local police were there as well as 500 of my fellow neighbors to “counter protest” the protesters. It was wonderful to see the outpouring of love on the streets. There were no incidents, thankfully, and Love, Inclusion, and Tolerance conquered hate. My favorite sign was held by one of the youngsters: “100% of all kids prefer Drag Queen Story Time over school lockdown drills.”

As a retired employee of the United States Postal Service, I will always be proud of its commitment to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. It wasn’t that long ago that “men” were almost always the neighborhood letter carrier.

“Women” are now 46% of the USPS workforce. In its policy statement, the USPS states: “It is important to feel unique, and yet belong. Fostering an inclusive work environment is a core strategy within the USPS. We strive to equip and empower employees to recognize and address unconscious bias and to help us live out our pledge to value and respect the dignity of our employees.” Your Union, the NALC, holds these words as sacred principles as well. Unfortunately, on many occasions, we have to remind those within the USPS that these words exist.

The first Presidents of our nation wore powdered wigs, makeup, and festive pantaloons. Jesus had long hair and wore a house robe like my Gramma (and he even read to kids!). Scottish warriors wear dresses (kilts). Moses (not that Moses) wore a patch on his leather biker jacket, till the day he died, that read “Proud to be a Lesbian.”

There are those amongst us who care too much about the way other people look, or act, or who they love. And that intolerance never ends well. I will keep working on myself in that regard, and I hope that you, my readers, do the same. Peace and Love to you all.

“In Diversity, there is beauty and strength”- Maya Angelou

We hope you appreciated this article. At People’s World, we believe news and information should be free and accessible to all, but we need your help. Our journalism is free of corporate influence and paywalls because we are totally reader-supported. Only you, our readers and supporters, make this possible. If you enjoy reading People’s World and the stories we bring you, please support our work by donating or becoming a monthly sustainer today. Thank you!


John Dick
John Dick

Award winning writer John "Cementhead" Dick is a retired letter carrier and proud member of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 3126, Royal Oak, Mich.