Live and Let Live

There is nothing wrong in having a sense of belonging. Millions of people belong to thousands of different organisations which operate and represent a myriad of different things. Often these people wear an outward sign of their membership, that they might be recognised by other members: a symbol of their commitment, camaraderie even belief. A symbol that sometimes represents a standard by which they live or an indication that there is a set of rules by which they adhere or may be recognised. Badges, rings and other obvious symbolic devices. Clothing too has had a remarkable impact throughout history as a way of indicating ones preference for a way of life or standard. From the cavaliers and roundheads to mods and rockers then onto skinheads and hippies, all of which reflect identity. A visible sign that the ‘wearer’ tells the world of a given set of rules by which they choose to abide. A football strip here is a soccer uniform in the states yet is exactly the same thing. Supporters of all sports have the opportunity to buy millions of pieces of clothing and paraphernalia that they wear with pride, an outward indication of their allegiance and support. The T shirt has become the ultimate accoutrement that allows the wearer to make specific statements of their views or allegiance. I have in my wardrobe, for example, shirts which tell the world of my love of the music of the Beatles, Led Zeppelin or Roxy Music. Millions of organisations and companies use a trillion such devices in an attempt to tap in to our need for belonging. They call it marketing. From pens to underpants we buy these so called designer things in six figure sums every day. I once had a tiger in my tank as a child without anyone in my family being able to drive. Charities too encourage us to wear a symbol of our giving to any particular cause. Daffodils, poppies and ribbons of all colours which we wear as we walk around shopping centres or our place of work. Just think how ridiculous it might be for someone to object to that Lords cricket tie you might be wearing or that someone may be offended in some way by the cufflinks denoting the wearer as a member of the Round Table or some other group. As far as I’m aware this wouldn’t happen because we pride ourselves on being objective, even sensible about such things. Groups of fans in different coloured shirts chant their chants and taunt their taunts at each other all in the name of sport yet they fully understand why the opposition wear what they wear simply because of empathy: they understand such passion. A passion that they recognise in themselves. Can you ever imagine for instance a man wearing a Masonic ring and a Lions charity badge that a woman in his employ shouldn’t wear a crucifix as it may cause offence? Ridiculous isn’t it! Happy Easter.

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