Taking Sides

Pardon the interruption

Just a different tack this morning. More of a journal/stream of consciousness thing. We will resume our regular Science, Sociology, Morality blogging in a few days.

After posting some of my poetry yesterday, several people approached me on twitter to ask questions and tell me how they could relate to what I posted. The theme was consistent throughout the conversations:

We are:

  • Overwhelmed
  • Numb
  • Angry
  • Tired
  • Afraid

Of course, there are many more, but the above seems to hit the highlights. Let’s stop and think about this for a minute. For the last year (and longer) we have been bombarded with political strife and scandal, terrorism, mass shootings, ( I know, these are terrorism too) all fueled by the ‘right now,’ ‘in-your-face,’ propaganda machine, that is social media.

First, we get angry and lash out, rallying like-minded people on our timelines feels good. ‘Yes! We are doing something’ becomes our self-congratulatory pat on the back. The constant deluge rubs us raw until we can’t take it any longer, so we recede into a protective shell. In our shell, we slip into a state of unfeeling which is manifested as an overwhelming condition of exhausted apathy. But, do you know what? The other side is doing the same thing, and they think they are just as right as we are. They feel just as overwhelmed as we do. We all fall into an ‘us vs. them’ match where no one wins. Realizing this is a key to getting our sanity back. If we engage in a tear them down at all costs campaign, then we ought to ask what that cost is? Is it the paid for in blood as we take up arms against our neighbors? How about in lost dignity as human beings, as a nation, as a world? We are in grave danger of losing the ability to engage the other side with empathy and compassion. As an atheist, I am keenly aware of this phenomenon as some religions paint every atheist as a genocidal sociopath. As someone on the political left, I see my compatriots unfairly paint everyone to the right in the same fallacious light.

My point here is this:

It isn’t just about healthcare, taxes, schools, and war machines. It’s about the core of our humanity and the way we set ourselves up for discourse with each other.

There will always be an ‘us,’ and there will always be a ‘them.’ This, believe it or not, is not a bad thing. It is how we get things done, how new ideas are born. We each provide a contrast, a backdrop, and a boundary for the other. This is necessary because to use a political analogy, the extreme left is just as wrong as the extreme right. Either of these positions allows no ground for the other, and that is Totalitarianism which should be abhorred by rational players from both sides of the fence.

Please remember that for every radical nutjob on the left or right foisting their hatred, bigotry, ignorance or religious intolerance onto society there are the other 99% who are just going about their business and may not be interested or even aware of the labels that have been placed upon them.

Going to war implies that someone thinks they are right, the other side is wrong, and they are willing to stake innocent lives on that position. Just remember that the other side feels the same thing about you.

Your war hero is likely to be seen as a war criminal to the other side.

One Reply to “Taking Sides”

  1. No matter what side you are on somewhere in the middle the is the truth. Things aren’t what you see in the media. Look around for yourself. Things are good if you turn off the news.

    Liked by 1 person

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