A few words about snowflakes

I was walking out of a restaurant recently when I overheard one of those “Make America Great Again” hat-wearing clods complaining loudly. He was ranting and raving about “liberal snowflakes” who “love gender-neutral bathrooms” and don’t realize that terrorists are, right this very minute, hiding in the midst of every group of ragtag refugees that’s seeking entry into this “once great land.”

Phew. Heady stuff, and it set off a mighty struggle between my rational and irrational sides. The rational side told me to keep walking and ignore Trump Hat. After all, I had my kids with me, and I didn’t want to expose them to what would surely turn into a useless shouting match with the human equivalent of a toilet bowl stain.

The irrational side, on the other hand, had some very different ideas. One of them involved being the initiator of that shouting match, as well as performing an action with his hat that I’m pretty sure would not only be anatomically impossible, but illegal in some Southern states.

Snowflake_Detail
Photo courtesy Charles Schmitt/Wikipedia

Rational, however, won the day and I walked on without comment, inwardly grumbling. Much later, though (isn’t that always the way?), I had one of those forehead-slapping moments where I thought of the perfect retort:

“Thank you for calling me a snowflake.”

Why? Because calling someone a “snowflake” is a compliment.

You see, snowflakes are created through adversity and diversity. Here’s how the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explains them:

“A snowflake begins to form when an extremely cold water droplet freezes onto a pollen or dust particle in the sky. This creates an ice crystal. As the ice crystal falls to the ground, water vapor freezes onto the primary crystal, building new crystals – the six arms of the snowflake.”

In other words, the water is just floating along, minding its own business, when it slams into some dirtball. That dirtball causes a powerful reaction that completely changes the water. Weighed down by this change, the now-frozen water starts to fall. As it drops, though, it meets up with other drops of water along the way. They lend structure and support, build new parts, and eventually form six sides.

When the snowflake finally lands, you’d never even know the dirtball existed, because the adversity and diversity have transformed that drop of water into something beautiful — and as our 1st-grade teachers drilled into our heads, no two are alike.

We’ve all bumped into our share of dirtballs on our journey: They’re the people who are racist and sexist; the people who believe might makes right; the people who think being gay is a choice or a sin. They’re the folks who use religion as a tool of self-righteousness and oppression; who use money to divide instead of unite; who live with closed minds and hearts.

And each time we’ve bumped into them, it’s changed us. And when our kids hear idiots like Trump Hat, it’s a teachable moment that can change them, too.

I choose to believe that we “snowflakes” will someday greatly outnumber the dirtballs — and that’s exactly what the dirtballs are afraid of. They’re afraid that we’ll be a united nation of individuals who have become stronger because of adversity and diversity.

And guess what? That’s exactly what the founding fathers had in mind.

So go ahead, call us “snowflakes.” Please.

4 thoughts on “A few words about snowflakes

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