The inspiration for this piece is a VERY simple premise, but one that seems to have been somehow lost in the growing din of cultural noise. I may not be the smartest guy in the world, but you won’t find me wandering around downtown wearing mismatched shoes and talking to buildings. And though I don’t see myself as being particularly wise, much less visionary, I think I am a relatively reasonable man who has tried to pay attention during my schooling. This I say today:
Our daily behavior with each other is clear indication of our future together.
David Wilson – April 18, 2017
Entirely Self-Serving Disclaimer
This isn’t about being preachy, this about collective accountability and mutual respect. As a society we’ve often had leaders to serve as models for dignified, respected AND respectful behavior, people like Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas, Martin Luther King, and John Wooden. However, in that those men are gone, and that most of our current “leaders” are failing us miserably in that regard, each of us needs to embrace OUR responsibility to lead.
We’re on the Wrong Track
To my friends and acquaintances, young and old, rich and poor and in between, Green and Blue, passive and impassioned, left and right…, we’ve been through a lifetime of experiences, together and apart. Through much of this time I’ve been carefully reading our writings, listening to our words, watching our actions and reactions. And not just for the past several months, but for the past several years. Folks, I’m convinced that much of the interactive social behavior we’re increasingly adopting is not at all in our best interest, much less the best we can do.
To be perfectly frank, I am sick of the divisive vitriol that has become commonplace in our culture, especially (though not exclusively) when the discussion involves anything with any measure of inherent emotion, which pretty much includes everything we talk about. Reading comments between my friends, I get a daily dose of pejorative remarks and even vile insults hurled back and forth at each other. In addition, I see from everyone what I think is too much of “my side is always right and your side is always wrong!” Dammit, just STOP IT!! MY side is with my fellow American Citizens, all 325 million of us. I think we have enough enemies in the world already, and it is therefore not in our best interest to make enemies of each other.
For the past year or more, and especially since November, this phenomenon has continued to increase, so much so that one can no longer engage in substantive discussion, much less watch a selection of prime time national news without experiencing some sort of visceral reaction, often due to utter disbelief and even anger at the content and context of what is being reported.
Know, We Don’t
I’ve said this before; One thing about which I am certain is that there is far too much certainty in this world. We KNOW what happened in Ferguson, we KNOW what happened in the election, we KNOW what happened in Flint, we KNOW what happened on that stupid United Airlines flight… Folks, we don’t know squat! We don’t know even half of what really went on with any of these situations. We get carefully selected bits and pieces of information and conflicting reports, all delivered with respective “spin.” And as a result, what we end up with is analogous to knowing a little bit of karate, which provides us just enough unwarranted confidence and false bravado to pick a fight, only to receive a good (and probably well-deserved) beating.
A Hard Job for a Worthy Cause
American Citizenry done properly is not an easy job. Nowhere in the US Constitution does it say (much less imply) that this will be easy, or even fair. But what it does is provide unmatched opportunity, and with great opportunity there is typically legitimate challenge. Given our already inherent challenges, I don’t think it serves any of us well to constantly rip to shreds everyone with whom we disagree, be it the President, the Congress, or even our friends and neighbors. Let’s abandon the ad hominem attacks, and instead discuss data-driven, historically-supported better ideas and thoughtful suggestions, with measurable outcomes. Let’s try to make our case without making enemies, the politicians and political commentators do enough of that already, and seem to be perfectly happy pitting us against each other.
Finally, I don’t think any of us will ever achieve the America we desire as long as each side consistently views the other side with contempt.
As always, just my opinion, but all of us ARE really in this together.