Tuesday, January 11, 2011

With the knowledge we have

I heard something on the radio last week that put into words what I've been feeling for a while now and didn't know quite how to express before. But it's such a good analogy that I want to share it.
With our new Congress ready to act, they decided to read the Constitution before going into session. However, they left out parts of the Constitution that were integral to the history of our country. Probably because they didn't want to start controversy or try to explain it. For whatever reason, they left out the 3/5th compromise. I honestly hadn't heard of this before and obviously need to do a little brushing up on my history. The 3/5th compromise is the standard by which blacks were measured back then. Blacks were counted as 3/5th of a person. It's right there in the constitution. Upon hearing that I was a little mad. Even a little outraged. Thinking of the inequality that existed back then makes me angry. And I was a little disappointed in our founding fathers for allowing it be written that way. Then I asked, "why?"
The answer was simply that it was for the census to decide representation for the states. The founding fathers wanted them to be counted as zero to begin with. The southern states wanted them to be counted as a full person. Why the discrepancy? Well, if they were counted as people, the southern states would get so much representation that slavery would never be overturned. They would have all the power. The founders knew that the people that were being counted would not be represented fairly and reasoned that if they were slaves, they were property and shouldn't be counted at all. They compromised and declared them worth 3/5th of a person. If it were not for that compromise our country would not be the same today. In fact we may well have ended up as two separate countries.
With that knowledge of the "why" behind it, I totally agree with what our founding fathers did. They had the country's best interest in mind and had foresight and faith that slavery would eventually be overturned.
How does this relate to running? Simple. We do the best with the knowledge we have in the moment. I get discouraged when I hear of or see others bickering about the different types of runners. Whether it's barefoot runners who are upset that Vibrams are being called barefoot shoes or runners in normal shoes telling the barefoot runners that they are going to get injured or they're just following the latest fad. Or barefoot runners feeling superior to everyone else. It just makes me sad. We're all runners. Trying to be heathy and have fun at the same time. We all have goals. We're all just doing the best with the information that we have today.
I have had a great support system while transitioning. I have heard a few things, but overall, I have had nothing but support. My husband teases me about being a hippie. But he's happy when I'm happy and I've even gotten him to take off his shoes on the treadmill. My in-laws have been huge supporters. And most of my friends don't think I'm insane. Heather is my partner in almost all I do and I'm so glad she loves it as much as I do. So it makes me sad when I see others struggling with negative comments. It's easy to tell them to brush it off or ignore them, it's a harder thing to actually do.
When I first started running I bought the cutest pair of shoes. The cutestness factor was how I picked them. I didn't know much about running.
Years ago I knew the best way to get shoes was to go to the running store and get fit for the type of shoe that was best for my foot. They measured my arch. They watched me run. And the more cushioning the better.
After years of researching, listening to others, having my own life experiences and reading a lot, I now know that landing midfoot is better for my body. It's using my body the way it was designed. And I know that going barefoot is the best way to figure out how to land correctly.
Yet, who knows what the future will hold? Who knows what the next big discovery in running will be? I think it will be hard to improve on God's creation though. Our foot is a pretty magnificent design. The more I learn about it, the more amazed I am. And I just want to try and use it the way it was made to be used. And I'm having a whole lot of fun in the process.
So I guess the whole point of this little post is to remind us all that we're all just doing the best we have with the knowledge we have. It doesn't matter if it's religion, politics, education, or running. It doesn't help to judge other people around you that are just doing the best with the knowledge that they have. I think back to my initial reaction to the 3/5th compromise. I was angry. I could have quit there and just been mad and called our founding fathers racist. But with knowledge I then understood and turned my opinion around 180 degrees. It's funny how that happens. I guess I would just hope for everyone to be understanding and patient with each other. We're all out there with the same goal in mind. Sometimes we just take different paths to get there and that's o.k. too. We should be on the same side. In the end we're all still just runners.


Anonymous said...

Now you know I couldn't agree more!!! I'm amazed at the uproar of people sometimes. Instead of them just maybe considering the information it's tossed aside and some take a very arrogant attitude. Why not learn from each other? I agree we all take different paths but ultimately we are on the same journey trying to reach the same end!!

The Hungry Runner Girl said...

WOW!!! What an awesome post. I had no idea the background behind the 3/5th compromise. I feel a little smarter after reading your post. I totally agree with you we just need to do the best with what we know now. We should support each other and do what is best for our bodies....great post!!!

Doran & Jody said...

Here, here! I agree that we should let others run how they see fit and what works best for them!
If you see me running down the road carrying a candy bar, don't judge! I am doing my best.

BTW...good thing I was not back during the slavery. That ANGERS me to the fullest!

katie thompson said...

you are so great to post this. life, politics, religion, etc are hard and difficult things to sort out and to get people to agree on. what is easy for some is hard for another. and you said it perfectly we should be on the same side.
and dont judge when i finish my marathon is like 10 hours and am missing half my hair from pulling it out :)

Teamarcia said...

Beautifully written! I couldn't agree more.

wendy said...

Beautifully said.

Julie said...

Hi Jen!
I awarded you The Stylish Blogger Award on my blog :-)

Michael said...

What a great post Jen. Made me reflect. The 3/5's rule sounds horrible, but you explained it so well. I like the connection between running and politics. Thanks for sharing. Mike