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Try walking a mile in someone's shoes

Just the other day I got involved in one of those conversations you know you are not supposed to be in. Yes, it was about politics. And even though I have always respected other people's views and their right to belong or support the party of their choice, I was attacked. I was called a bleeding heart liberal, and asked how I could be so stupid and foolish to support my liberal ways.
When I was in high school in the 1960s, my family suffered from very difficult financial times. As a result, I was the first student at Hutchinson-Central Technical to be granted a free hot lunch due to hardships. I will never forget the tough times my mother was going through. A meal was so appreciated.
I had a homeroom teacher who was not afraid to let us all know what her political beliefs were, and she certainly made them clear every morning as she called my name. "Mr. Swan, please come to the front of the room and pick up your free lunch ticket that we all pay for."
Was it difficult to face my classmates each day? Yes. Did my family ask for the position we were put into? Of course not. Did I appreciate this social program given to me? I most certainly did. Did it educate me at an early age of one's ignorance? Yes. Did it shape me into the bleeding heart liberal I am today? Yes it did.
I look back now at those times and I am truly thankful of all I learned. It made me a stronger, more compassionate person. But I learned most of all, first hand, just how important some social service programs are and not to judge others, because after all I was once there. It is very easy to take a position on political opinion, but unless you have lived it, you will truly never know what you are talking about.
Christopher M. Swan Sr.
Hamburg