Saturday, January 21, 2017

Marching to a Different Drummer

Today is the Big Day of the Women's March on Washington, and many other marches are being held all around the country.  With the inauguration yesterday, and the marches today, there has been a lot of talk around our table about values, change, balance...and far less about who is right, who is wrong, or how America is sinking or rising based upon any particular candidate.

I posted this on Facebook this morning, and it was something I quickly wrote to share as thoughts were hitting me while mentally reviewing images and sound bites from the past several months.



I Am Learning

I am learning
That disagreement equals the right to disrespect.

I am learning
That nothing is sacred…not body parts, not beating hearts.

I am learning
That Left and Right, Black and White will never live in harmony.

I am learning
That money and power always usurp poverty and impotence.

I am learning
That discourse must be in loud tones with harsh words.

I am learning 
That “equality” today often means “getting my way”.

I am learning 
That stereotyping is self-serving and permission giving.

I am learning 
That all sides lump together and make assumptions about entire groups of people.

I am learning
That “isms” are somehow elevated above others, that pointing out differences is preferred.

I am learning
That fear speaks more loudly than rational thought, and it wins when we let it.

I am learning
That Armageddon is claimed as having arrived by both sides, though a different version for each.

I am learning
What you are teaching me…by your words and your actions.

Teach me well.

What are we teaching our youth?  What messages have they learned throughout this hostile, antagonistic four year election cycle?  For some, this past four years has been the entirety of their "awake" years, spending the prime teenage period listening to an onslaught of attacks, name calling, finger pointing and derision that has been unprecedented...and it was on both sides of the aisle.

Do any of us really get it, that on both "sides" we are providing awful role
modeling?  Do we see how our animosity toward the other, no matter how justified we may feel it is, teaches our children that "Divide and Conquer" is the only way?  We point the finger at "those people" and spew vitriol that is disgusting, disrespectful, and filled with half truths (as proven over and over again) that fit our argument but dismiss any issue as being cut and dried, when few American issues are really that.  

It is in our very nature to "otherize" those whose opinions don't align with our own, and yet where does that really get us?  We call politicians "weak" if they want to work toward compromise, admonishing those who readily admit that there are probably valid arguments on both side of an issue.  "Moderate" or "centrist" perspectives are viewed with disdain and are called dispassionate, rather than judicious.  Instead, we uplift confrontation and partisanship, we applaud closed minded leadership, as long as it is on "our side".

Maybe the next generation will guide us out of the mess we have made.  Perhaps they will grow weary of the angry rhetoric heard throughout their childhoods, the "tit for tat" attitudes, and unreasonable lack of restraint exhibited by the leaders of our nation.  

If so, they will have managed to acquire balanced perspectives with no help from us.  

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