A different Perspective “Right wing socialist”, I thought, as we strolled back to class. I had a feeling; I wasn’t going to get along with her. I support a free-market, private-property order, and oppose government power as economically and morally destructive. She had a different set of beliefs. She had love for nature. She was an environmentalist; she had dreams of joining the Peace Corps to pursue her dreams. We both had strong Christian up bringing but she was Unitarian, I was an Ethiopian Orthodox. Her worst fear was Republican control of the White House and congress. At this point I was thinking we couldn’t be more dissimilar. During our interview, I kept probing deeper in hopes of finding out how she came to shape her views on such issues as the environment and politics. Much like myself, I learned she came from a very conservative back ground. She attended a Montessori high school up until the eighth grade. This is a type of school where they teach students through experiential learning. They hold small classes where they emphasize group work. She then went on to a Catholic high school where she made most of her friends. She lived in a close knit community where everyone knew everybody else. She was a perfectionist, a procrastinator, she says yes when she really ought to say no. These were her qualities but none of these could answer my question as to how her strong environmental, political or religious views were shaped. I thought her hometown might have some clues. After all she spent the greater part of her life there. Cleveland’s Air quality survey by the United States Environmental Protection Agency show that Greater Cleveland’s carbon monoxide and ozone levels are lower than most other large urban centers in the country. People seem to have sense of social responsibility and love for the environment. This factor combined with her up bringing and love for nature influenced her considerably.
Her multicultural awareness is deeply rooted in her hometown. Cleveland is home to approximately 80 ethnic groups, speaking more than 60 languages. It ranks as the 14th best place to live out of 343 metropolitan areas in North America, according to ‘Places Rated Almanac’. Her hometown also boasts of great religious diversity. She mentioned how she has friends from almost all the different religions except Islam and Buddhism. Cleveland is filled with great number of churches, synagogues and mosques representing every religious belief. Including Baha’i, Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam. If she had spent a little more time there, she would have had her wish of having a friend from every religion of the world fulfilled.She’s addicted to e-mail, chocolate, and caffeine. She loves life’s simple pleasures, such as a hug, books or listening to music. She has always wanted to sail. She hates Gengrich, as I do. She dislikes inconsiderate smokers, closed-minded people, waste and apathy. She loves her friends, family, art, challenges and God. She simply loves life. This was a much different person than I had anticipated. Now, here was a girl who I thought was very different from me. In haste, I judged her. I categorized her. Without giving her a chance I had labeled her as a socialist and environmental freak. In the process she showed me how to open up my mind. It was the summer of nineteen ninety-nine. She has blond hair. She’s about five feet and six inches in height. She’s charming and has a quick wit about her. Her name is Lacy Ann Dial. We were attending a college writing course at American University. We were given instructions to take a walk down to our campus store and get back to class. It was on this short walk that we had such an insightful conversation. It was getting late. I was lost in Ideas. Some one held the door open to our classroom and said, “after you please”.