I took myself off Facebook yesterday, just for the day, and I had such improved focus and clarity. There is so much angry noise, and I don’t have a problem with anger or noise, but much of this is picking at a wound. All sides feel this wound. Wounds need time and air to heal, and sometimes bandages. But the skin is still active, things are happening, the bandages temporary. The skin and body supporting it need nourishment, rest, recovery.
The ability to hold two conflicting ideas in our mind at the same time reflects a certain sophistication of thought. Your “right” doesn’t win over (shall we say, trump) my “left.” We are conditioned for the “either/or choice”, but often we need a “both/and” approach. Our amazing, beautiful, conflicted, difficult, still young, experimental democracy could benefit from some paradoxical thinking at every level. But first, listen. Sit down and break bread with someone you don’t agree with, and be willing to listen. When your blood begins to boil, seek to understand. Use the ground rules of building a relationship and find some common ground. We are all just people, trying to do the best for our families. If you can’t yet bear to hear, take some time.
Can we not borrow trouble right now? We have enough. Eyes open, but also looking out and up?
Friday night and I’m completely riled up from this amazing, foot stomping, hand clapping tune that will likely result in my getting a speeding ticket. When it played on KPRI this evening I was stuck on the 5, heading north after the merge, and it was killing me that I couldn’t floor it. Even Mookie (the DJ) wanted to play it again, it’s that good. SOB by Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats has me jacked up. So I decided to post it on Facebook. As I did, I struggled a bit, because the song is about a guy trying to kick alcohol, and decides not to. Like most people, there are people in my life that struggle with alcohol and substance abuse, and they may take offense. The struggle: share for others enjoyment or not share to avoid rocking anyone’s boat? And while the bigger worry is that somehow I am hurting someone, there is also a piece of me that doesn’t want to be exposed to negative comments on my post.
Big deal, right? Why even bother worrying? Well, aside from the fact that one of my values is to be kind and respectful of others, I am interested in this problem as it manifests across our broader culture. We are very quick to judge and take offense. We also tend to believe that our opinions carry more weight than those of others, and this is simply not true. When we are offended, we ask others to pull back from their opinions and quite often we are very mean about it. Is this really for the best?
Apparently I am not the only person to feel this way. While searching for an image to complement this post, I searched the term politically correct, and retrieved a ridiculous number of images that demonstrate the range of emotion that the PC movement has generated. Where do we draw the line between free speech and discrimination? I don’t have the answer, but it lies somewhere in the gray area of live and let live, don’t sweat the small stuff, and be your own advocate.
So, in the spirit of Friday night, a great tune, sensitivity and balance…listen to SOB, or not.