The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Mel White 


On the Bright Side


Usually I'm a pretty optimistic person, but sometimes I worry about things both big and small. Take world peace, for instance (a really big thing) – I sometimes worry that no matter how noble a goal it is, it will never happen.

I worry about this because of the constant reminders I see all around me that people can't get along in the smaller bits and pieces of life (i.e. the little things) – never mind the larger picture – and I seem to be thinking about it more and more these days because things seem to be getting worse and worse.

It's an old concept: we are living in a you-OR-me world when people are in competition, thinking the only way they can get anywhere is to beat or best someone else, to be in charge of someone else, to feel good by making someone else feel bad, instead of living in the more desirable you-AND-me world, where people work together and respect each other and compromise and try to help each other, to raise each other up.

I once belonged to an organization that claimed to be not only an outlet for shared interests and resources, but also a support group. The word "co-op" (as in cooperative, as in "to cooperate") was even in the title, but in reality the members always seemed to be talking behind each other's backs, badmouthing each other, questioning and disparaging and sometimes trying to sabotage decisions the group had made as a whole, and generally trying to undermine the success of other individuals in the group. I wondered if some of them might have had you-OR-me tattoos over their hearts.

How, I wondered, can we hope for peace in a world full of people with different beliefs and traditions, morals and mores, histories and hopes, when we can't even manage peace in a microcosm of a couple dozen folks who come together voluntarily with shared interests and goals?

Sometimes it all seems so hopeless. Some people will always only think of themselves; some people will always be rude, insensitive, so insecure that they often cross the line to hateful. Our own community sometimes disappoints me when I see people who lack compassion for others, who rush to judgment when someone disagrees, who are more willing to believe disturbing rumors instead of trying to find out facts, who project the belief that some people are more important or deserving than other people.

But I've never been a hopeless–feeling kind of gal for very long, and it usually works for me to remember and pay attention to how many people are living more of a you-AND-me life, and it is through those people that I find hope again.

People who perform random acts of kindness for friends and relatives and strangers alike, are contributing to a you-AND-me world every day, and those people can be found in every continent, every country, every community, even here in Tehachapi. Our community is experiencing a growing number of people who embrace empathy and work in a spirit of you-AND-me, who open their arms and minds to different people and beliefs, who speak up and stand up for others when the bullies show up, who live their lives in a spirit of love and acceptance rather than setting things up as either/or situations.

I don't know how we will ever arrive at world peace, or if it is actually possible. But even though the question seems too big – or even when that goal seems perhaps too unattainable – there are reminders everywhere that when you look for love, when you look for the positive, when you look for the good and decent, you can find it. In Tehachapi, while we are also experiencing more and more of the vitriol found all over our country these days, we are also finding more and more people willing to show up against hate and in favor of empathy and compassion. Thank goodness.

you-AND-me – not you-OR-me – is the way we will survive and the way we will thrive. I'm still going for it and I hope more of you will join us in striving for that kind of environment. When enough of us get into that kind of thinking, maybe world peace won't seem so unattainable after all.

© Copyright 2018 Marilda Mel White. Mel White, Tehachapi writer/photographer, has been looking on the bright side for various publications sine 1996. She welcomes your comments at


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