We, our nation, are on a dangerous path. We talk past each other. We say essentially the same thing but only hear what we think we hear or want to hear. When we engage with or meet others we must listen. For God’s sake, we must listen.
Talking past each other? Imagine you and a friend or even someone who has different political, ethical or ideological views. Imagine you’re standing on opposite sides of the chain link fence backstop. You can see them. They can see you. Your words go right through the fence and theirs, too. Here’s the problem, the way we often talk to each other lets us see and hear, but our meaning, our ideas stop at the almost invisible boundary of the backstop. Try looking in each other’s eyes and, like Mother used to say, clean the beeswax out.
The news, the so-called news media, plays video clips of an individual speaking. We see the person; we hear the person say the words. Then, without taking a breath, the so-called news readers tell us what was just said. Are we so stupid, so ignorant that we couldn’t hear the speaker’s words? The reporter then tells us what we heard, which is not what the person just said.
Moral Equivalency? Now there’s a ‘holier than thou’ kind of view. Those who use the phrase mean my morals are more moral than yours. Remember reading George Orwell’s little fairy tale Animal Farm? Remember the phrase (I paraphrase), we are all equal, but some are more equal than the others?
Try this, “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference.”
If, in this world of instant communication, unfiltered videos, how can one individual or so-called news organization assume we can’t see or hear? They are so arrogant that they think they can manipulate our thinking by their interpretation. Hey, it must be so; they are on television; they are highly paid talking heads, so when they tell us the opposite of what we saw and heard, well shucks, they must be right. No?
No, we have the right to question. We have the right to think. We have the right to listen and trust our own good judgment. We have the right to quit listening to vain and bitter people who tell us we should know better. We should know better than to trust somebody else who tells us what we just saw or heard was not what we saw or heard.
If I see two MMA fighters get in the cage and start whaling on each other, I know they both voluntarily got in the ring and expected to take punches.
If I see two distinct groups in a park, or on the street coming at each other with clubs and shields and pepper spray or even spray paint or ignited aerosols, and members of both groups fall to the ground and members of both groups continue to kick and beat each other, I can see. Both groups are engaged. Both groups are out to hurt each other, screaming, kicking, gouging. When it breaks down to “moral equivalency” apparently some news stations only see one side as having the moral side; they are on the right side.
When it come to violence and bodily harm, neither side is “right.” What kind of violent groups, violent members wear masks, wear helmets, wear hoodies and sheets to cover their identity. I’ll tell you who. Members that haven’t got the nerve to be forthright about their stand. Kind of like anonymous callers and letter writers. If it’s worth saying then it’s worth you standing and proclaiming.
Years ago, I used to fight. I fought too many fights. Punching, kicking, gouging. Too many knock-down, drag out, donnie-brooks. There were no winners in the fights. Both of us were losers. The fights came after we both quit listening to each other, after we let our anger take over our tolerance for the other, after we took the easy way out. So, quick it happened, without pause, we took to beating the pee out of each other. A few decades later, I can’t even remember what the fights were about.
In a fight, when anger takes over, when hate takes over, when patience is lost, when we think we have the only right answer, when we think our moral equivalency is more moral than yours, we have lost already. Both sides are wrong. Both sides aren’t moral.
Rise above the fray. Abandon vain and selfish ways. Avoid vain and bitter people. Listen. Get off the dangerous path. Talk to each other, not past each other. God grant me the serenity, courage and wisdom to walk away from a fight, especially a fight I cannot win.
Blessed are the Peacemakers. In peace we have to fight with courage, not fists and clubs. Sometimes we have to walk away. Every time, we have to pay attention to the path we are on.
Blessings and Peace. Vayan con Dios,
Travel Well, Jeff C. Campbell