As a new week of partisan political planking (“Nuh-uh, the speck’s in YOUR eye”) gets going full swing through my timeline, it’s a good time to remember the words of Martin Niemöller: “First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”
It doesn’t matter which political camp you endorse, if you even go there. Sadly, our nation is more divided now than it’s probably been since the Civil War, over ideologies. Rather over people’s theories of “how things SHOULD be.”
Too many people forget that we live in a world of what is and it exists totally independent of the several billion concepts of how it “should” be. Moreover, BOTH Democrats AND Republicans–who’ve put partisan power pursuits ahead of the general welfare of the nation–have incredible stains of “blood on their hands” when it comes to misleading the country, or for that matter, the world.
When it comes to doing what’s RIGHT vs. assigning blame or claiming “It’s not MY fault, it’s YOURS, you stupid idiot” (social media leaves no shortage of other choice words here), there’s something that always gets pushed aside: taking responsibility. Few today have the courage to stand up and say, “Wow, we’ve really screwed this up and we need to COME TOGETHER to make it right.”
One thing always holds true: “loving thy neighbor as thyself” usually works. Respect our differences by seeking understanding and common ground instead of vilifying others simply for believing differently than you do.
Refusing to call out mistreatment of others will enhance the chances nobody will speak out when you are mistreated. Repeatedly telling your neighbor s/he’s a stupid idiot frequently only succeeds in them tuning YOU out as “the crackpot.” (Or blocking you on Facebook, especially when your insults are repeatedly enhanced with f-bombs and name-calling.) Been there. Done that. Found a better way.
To step up to make this world better, perhaps try to rephrase, “YOU should ____,” with “I’M going to _____.” Try to prove you want to take responsibility for how YOU live, instead of focusing on demanding what others “should do” to make your life easier, better, or more convenient.
I’m reminded of an oft-repeated childhood lesson here: “Actions speak louder than words.”
Go ahead: choose sides and continue the childish fight to “prove yourself right”–OR take a step or two toward the middle, to try to find peace instead of living in a world of perpetual wars (actual, political or just of words).