Looking back at civil rights demonstrations, you see a sign that was regularly carried: I AM a Man. That is, I am not what others say I am, not how others treat me. I am a complete and independent human being, worthy of all that means.
The particular issue of civil and human rights remains unresolved, a work in progress. But the sign is more than that, and is needed in America and elsewhere more than ever.
Many of us, much of the time, are subject to so many outside influences that shape our own thinking and actions. That shape our expectations. That shape our choices. That is the nature and result of historic levels of hyper-saturated commercial/consumer/celebrity media culture.
We are trapped by those influences because we are trapped by our expectations and choices. We have trapped ourselves. We have marched down a one-way alley. We can party in an alley, and we do. We can live and die in an alley, and we do. But it can get crowded and uncomfortable, and when we sense that we are trapped, we might want to look for a way out.
That’s where that old demonstration sign comes in. I AM a Person. Not that other person, not that message, not that expectation, not that thing. Not what I hear and see, not what I say and show. A person. I AM a person.