“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.” ~ Dr Martin Luther King Jr
This post is not meant to inflame the already tense time we are living in. If my words offend you, I kindly ask that instead of leaving a nasty comment, just stop reading and go to the next post. This piece is meant solely to be a voice of reason in the sea of madness.
There seems to be a growing, yet disturbing, trend in America in recent years. Anger, resentment, divisiveness, intolerance, ignorance, hypocrisy, and dishonesty. And that is just the short list. All of this can be attributed to many factors. Social media and mainstream media are at the top of the list. However, there’s one thing that has made things worse. Politics, rather the politicizing, of just about everything we do from writing common sense legislation to what we have for breakfast. There are plenty of people out there willing to take a stand and protest what they feel is wrong.
What about taking a stand and protesting for what’s right? Are we all that scared to do that?
I have to say, I’ve seen my fair share of debates on the news involving some of the more controversial topics and I have to wonder, where has basic civility gone in our country? As an objective observer, I’ve noticed a couple things that always end up happening during these debates. Three of the most glaring observations are that at some point 1) while one person is trying to have a civilized, rational discussion, the other person spews hate filled word vomit, 2) one of the debaters, without fail, resorts to name calling and someone is always room blame.
I have a question. How does any this solve anything?
There are some things we can we do to fix this mess. Let’s look at the name calling, the hateful word vomit and shouting down others first.
I’d like to encourage you to try something if you get an a chance. Watch two people debating a controversial topic. You could also watch or read the news from different outlets. There’s one catch though. You need to do this without an opinion either way and with an open mind. If you choose do this, you’ll see that one side tries to rationally discuss the situation and come up with logical solutions to the problem.
You will also notice that instead of coming up with another idea, the other person who disagrees starts throwing around labels like racist, bigot, misogynist, xenophobe, feminist, etc. I don’t know about anyone else, but if someone were to call me one of those names I would get angry in the blink of an eye. Name calling not only shuts down the conversation, but it invalidates everything you just said. Not only that, but the person you just called a bigot, etc is probably far from it.
Sometimes the person who disagrees will shout down or talk louder than the person trying to have the rational and logical discussion. If you and I are shouting at each other, can you hear what I’m saying even if we agree on a solution? I know I wouldn’t be able to hear you.
Finally, something I hear a lot of on mainstream media, see on social media or hear from others in general. Someone always gets blamed for everything that happens. While there may be someone or something that caused the problem(s) we see today, blaming doesn’t help anything either.
All of this only fuels the flames of anger and makes the divide between you and me even bigger.
One way to fix all of this is with the Spiritual Principles that I’ve written about for some time. These Principles can help combat the anger, resentment, divisiveness, intolerance, ignorance, hypocrisy, and dishonesty I mentioned earlier. Principles like open mindedness, forgiveness, patience, tolerance, honesty, compassion, empathy, integrity, humility and acceptance are just a few that can help.
Obviously everyone isn’t going to agree on everything. What we CAN DO is either compromise on some stuff or we can agree to disagree. As I said earlier, name calling based on differing viewpoints solves nothing but fuel the fire and makes the divide between you and I even greater.
You may have heard some version of the following quote, “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” by Maya Angelou. The keywords in that quote are “in diversity there…is strength.” While some journalists and news pundits argue or question this, it is actually true. Think about it for a moment. You and I have two different solutions to the same problem. But if we look at both of our ideas, there may be aspects of each of our solutions that will work.
Another quote by Eldridge Cleaver comes to mind when I see a debate descending into madness. “If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.” As I watch these mini debates and see what each person does, or doesn’t do, I find myself yelling at the tv, “So, what’s your idea? What’s your solution to this problem?!” Seriously, if you disagree with me and my thoughts, instead of throwing blame around, calling me names or shouting me down, tell me your ideas. Maybe together we can fix the problem.
Thought for the day: Instead of spewing hateful word vomit, name calling and throwing blame around, let’s all of us everywhere try something different for a change. Let’s try practicing the Spiritual Principles. Let’s also work on being part of the solution instead of part of the problem. Don’t do it for your sake or mine. Do it for the sake of the future.
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