So, fun fact: My favorite ride at Disneyland (please note – Disneyland) is It’s a Small World. I have loved that ride my whole known life, the big huge clock, all the little children in different costumes. The repetitive song which beats itself into your brain. Love it, love it, love it.
When I moved to Florida we went to Disney World, specifically EPCOT, and I was introduced to the World Showcase. Instead of a boat ride there, in miniature and hyper-clean, was the world. Stocked with people from the actual places. It was mesmerizing and beautiful and overwhelming.
And then, when I was 15 I went overseas. To the real world. No dolls in costumes or hyper-clean streets, but to ancient cities and modern marvels.
And never did it cross my mind that my presence wasn’t welcome there. That if you had the guts to get on a plane, to try to speak the language, to try and see and do new things then you were welcome. Sure, you got the occasional rude person, but rude people exist everywhere.
Then we had the terror attacks, and suddenly people got scared. And the economy started to go bad, and people got scared.
And what was once this idea of an open world with all these cultures started to close up. If you were Asian, or Eastern European, or Indian, or Mexican – you were bad. If you were of a non-Christian religion – you were bad. If you were different in any way, and especially if you were homosexual – you were bad.
At least that’s what the news says. Or the politicians preached. Or the religious leaders bellowed. Anyone different from you is bad.
The world is not a place of people who dress in their native costume and singing the same lyrics all in the same language. It’s a place where people argue over ideas, kill television transmissions, and utilize complex and ever-changing rules to get what they want. Because, as far as many people are concerned, anything different, new, mysterious, or possibly better is evil. And it must be controlled.
I wonder if, in the future, my children will be able to ride It’s a Small World without having their passports, birth certificate, and fingerprints taken. Or if, every time they go to a new country in the World Showcase, their motives and sexuality will be questioned by men in gray uniforms.
Or if, maybe, we should stop all this nonsense.
Spending your time hating other people is a waste. Just like rude people, crazy people exist. Just like greedy and giving, egotistical and humble. All spectrums exist in all places, no one place is safe. And closing borders, cutting television stations, and lying to yourself will do nothing to make it better. All that is happening is change. Trying to stop change will do nothing but make it harder and possibly worse.
When I was a kid I marveled at the world and I still do. Sure, I’m a bit older and yeah, it’s really corny how much I love a boat ride at an amusement park – but I like to believe that there is just one moon and one golden sun… and a smile means friendship to everyone… though the mountains divide and the oceans are wide…
It’s a small world, after all.