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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Meerkats offer lessons about humanity

    While at the chips and salsa bar at Chuy’s – which is conveniently placed near the front entrance – I noticed a girl walk in wearing a Dallas jersey. I was initially taken aback by her exceptional attractiveness. When she proceeded to wave in my direction, my shock was turned into excitement and I immediately responded, trying all the while to comprehend why she had reacted to me in such a friendly way. My mind turned first to whether or not I knew her.

    She walked intently toward me while I searched furiously through my mind for a name, and suddenly I realized what had been staring me right in the face the whole time: We both were wearing Dallas Cowboys football jerseys. After my epiphany, we carried a friendly conversation about our mutual taste in football teams and talked briefly about where the season was going before exchanging a friendly “”goodbye”” and returning to our respective tables.

    This occurrence sparked a large amount of contemplation on my part. I had never met this person before and beyond that hadn’t even known she existed until that moment at the salsa bar, and yet we had been able to completely skip over an uncomfortable introduction and evade any sense of awkwardness. We had been completely friendly just on the simple fact that we were both wearing jerseys from the same football team. Suddenly, at that moment, no political beliefs, sexual orientation, religious affiliation or any other faction mattered. We accepted each other without any arbitrary judgments.

    It really brought up broader questions in my mind: Why can’t this experience be a regular, more universal one? Why can’t people accept each other simply on the basis that we are all people?

    The idea that a piece of similarly colored material draped over the shoulders of two persons can inspire peace and acceptance, and yet the fact that we are both of the same species has nowhere near the same pull, is at best a repulsive idea. If you’ve ever turned on Animal Planet and been lucky enough to catch an episode of “”Meerkat Manor,”” then you have witnessed the banding together of a society devoid of “”faction-based”” discrimination. The meerkats don’t discriminate on the basis of how many spots one might have on their tail. They don’t reject a meerkat because he’s bigger or smaller or any different than the rest. Any difference is just accepted as a possible advantage at a later date. But the most important thing to take away from their actions is that they band together and accept each other on the simple basis that they are the same species.

    This seems very simple and many might argue that meerkats are not sophisticated enough to warrant comparison with humans or that they do not have the same brain capacity that we do and, therefore, cannot see past the fact that they are the same species. But is it really unintelligent to group together based on the most simple of characteristics? Shouldn’t the fact that we are more intellectually capable mean that we are all the more able to understand one another and thus band together as a collective society more easily? Or, simply put, if we’re smarter than a bunch of meerkats, why can’t we – like them – figure out a way to live together harmoniously?

    Once every four years, the world congregates peaceably to compete in a series of sports. Are the Olympics the only time the world can see eye to eye? For those few days, we all cheer for a person bearing the symbol of a flag. Which flag we cheer for is irrelevant, what matters is that – like the Dallas jerseys – this simple symbol silences any other classification we would usually associate with a person. No one cared whether or not Michael Phelps is a Democrat or a Republican; we all cheered for him excitedly as he swam toward his record-breaking eight gold medals. Though every competitor and spectator alike are aware of the flags that separate the “”teams”” in each sport or event, in the end all the athletes shake hands and congratulate each other.

    Religions, political parties, race and any other classifications are just spots on the tail of the bigger picture of life. Meerkats seem to get it, so why can’t we? A football jersey is superficial compared to the fact that we are all human. We all wear the same skin – the color and complexion is irrelevant. What really matters is that one day we all allow that natural material draped over our shoulders to triumph over the divisions that we so carelessly place within our societies.


    – Isaac Mohr is a journalism freshman. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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