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Columbia Missourian

ROSE NOLEN: Find the worth in every person

By Rose Nolen
February 4, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CST

Last month, many Americans reflected on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade — both those who oppose the ruling and those who approve.

People on both sides of the issue have reasons for marking the occasion. Many victims of rape and incest have been spared the ordeal of bringing unwanted children into the world. Opponents stand firm on their belief that abortion should not have been legalized.

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I’m glad that America changes course every few years. As a country we seem to grow older and wiser. Until the Civil War, many Americans felt it was right and just for one race to be superior to the other. After the war, things began to change until ultimately all races became subject to the same rules.

For a long time, homosexuals were held to a different standard than others. Obviously, the more we learn about each other, the more we understand that we are more alike than we are different. We learn to appreciate and understand each other.

It is good to live in a world where people are not shunned or treated as less than human because of some difference we cannot explain or even find fault with.

I prefer to find the worth in every person. I don’t want to have a personal ax to grind with individuals because there is some flaw in their appearance that I might find objectionable.

I can only hope that we might find fewer reasons to go to war with people simply because they do not follow our rules of conduct. As we learn to respect and appreciate people more, perhaps we will be willing to forgive them because they do not think or behave as we do.

Many centuries have gone into the development of each culture and nationality on this planet. What some people have endured, sustained and accommodated in their struggle to survive is not the same for all.

The primary thing we need to learn about each other is that we are different people who are accustomed to different things. And the more we learn about each other, the more we will be able to understand each other.

We have only to look at the diets of different people on this planet to imagine how difficult it would be to sit down at the same table and eat together. While for me, it may be impossible to accept a portion of eel, my neighbor may feel the same way about a portion of ground coon.

But, little by little, one after the other, we find ourselves bending to learn a bit more about each other. Who knows?  By tomorrow we could be friends.

Rose M. Nolen writes a weekly column for the Missourian. You can join the conversation by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at nolenrose@charter.net.