Friends, you know that here at The Takedown, I have pledged that I would not post things “just” to post them. I would not post syrupy, sappy “Oh hey, here’s what I had for breakfast this morning” or “Hey, I got a new puppy!” kind of posts. The premise is that The Takedown would be a place in which things of meaning would be brought up, and so it will be with this post. It will probably be a lengthy one, but I hope that not only will everyone read it, but that they will all realize that it is speaking to every single one of us. This post, although it will touch on political matters in a general sense, is not a “political” post.
I have walked this Earth for close to 50 years (although I have one friend, in particular, who claims that it’s closer to 600 or so – he keeps changing the total on me!) and in all that time I have never, and I do mean never seen the levels of downright, hysterical, “drive your funny car right off the cliff without looking back” derangement going on since the last Presidential election ended. Now, it is important to stress that whatever your political affiliation is or is not, whether you like the President or do not, whether you are Republican, Democrat, Centrist, Independent, Lunatic Fringe – this is something that affects all of us. WE, as a nation, are suffering and will continue to suffer if this continues.
- We have sitting government officials and representatives calling for violence (and make no mistake – violence is what is being condoned, here, no matter how veiled the words) against those who support the current administration.
- We have public officials being denied service and harassed, openly, in public simply because others don’t agree with them. (Imagine, for a moment, people doing this in the previous President’s administration, or ANY other President’s cabinet in the last 20 or so years, or to members of his cabinet. Yes. It’s a double standard, and a glaring one.)
- We have a news media that seems, 24/7 to do nothing but predict doom, gloom and trash any and everything that the President and his administration does. (Although it has never been perfect, I can remember a time when the media was a lot less biased, and certainly less openly biased, than it is now)
- Perhaps most frightening, large groups of people seem to have abandoned any and all ability to have rational, intelligent discourse with people who have opinions different than their own and in many cases, as has been reported in media outlets, have resorted to verbal and physical abuse against those with whom they disagree.
This is America? Land of the free, home of the brave? The Great Melting Pot? Not from where I stand. The question is, why? WHY is this happening, and more importantly, what can we, each of us, do to stop it and keep it from spreading and getting steadily worse? What is happening is beyond simple disagreement. It’s evil at its base, and evil in its nature. Yes, it’s from an episode of a TV show but I remember two things that Mr. Spock once said that I find to be very true, in life: “Evil seeks to maintain power by suppressing the truth” and “Without followers, Evil cannot spread.” The Boot of Truth is that WE – you and I – in whatever capacity we are able to be – need to not allow the Truth to be suppressed, and we need to not be followers. We need to have the courage to go against the flow and speak up when obvious mistruths are being spread, and when people are reacting, on emotion, rather than responding from a point of reason and information. At the college a few days ago, I overheard a rather heated conversation and watched a woman in her 20’s literally become so agitated and so overwrought that she could not stand still during a conversation. The reason? She was ranting about “The President is separating children and putting them in cages!!!” and the instructors that she was speaking to were pointing out, quite rightly, that first of all, the pictures being used had been manipulated, in some cases, and in others were pictures from previous administrations who had either begun that policy or were continuing it. The current President was doing the same and continuing the policy. Yet, the more reason they injected, the more agitated she became until she was literally clenching and unclenching her fists and hopping from foot to foot, not listening to what was being said and just repeating her statement, like a mantra. At that point I stepped into the conversation in support of the others and then asked what area of work she was going into. She replied she wanted to go into social work. I then said, calmly, that speaking from my experience as an EMT who works with the public, if she had no better self-control or emotional control than she was displaying here, it may be wise for her to consider an alternative career. After all, I may have very strong feelings about certain issues, but I cannot let that be on display or get in the way when I am serving someone else. That isn’t why I’m there and it isn’t an appropriate time. The room got very quiet. She laughed and sputtered something about learning how to control herself in classes, later on, at which point I began pointing out all the obvious clues that showed she was emotionally overwrought and upset from a simple disagreement. I then said “Self control cannot be taught. You have to choose to engage it.” I then withdrew. I took a chance, surely, but I felt compelled to speak up and say something, and hopefully it stuck with her, or will come back to her at a later point. I refused to be a bystander. All in all, it was a fascinating, yet disheartening example of people who use only their feelings, their emotions, and act on them without bothering to get all of the information that’s available. (And yes, it goes both ways, and I’m aware of that. This is an example – not a be-all, end-all)
Friends – as I said before – whatever your political affiliation, whatever your stance, PLEASE, for your sake and all of ours, use and engage your intelligence. Don’t just act on emotion. Don’t take what any one news source says as the Gospel truth. Search out other sources as well and make as informed a decision as you can. Use REASON, not EMOTION. We are seeing where people are waking up and realizing that this is getting out of hand and are beginning to move away, and that gives me hope, but it’s not enough. Perhaps the hardest of all, remember a quote from “As a Gentleman Would Say,” in dealing with some people that you will encounter out there:
Sometimes, unfortunately, you do need to know “when to say when,” as it were. For some people, there is no reasoning with them, and those people are better left to discover their way on their own.
I hope this made sense, my friends. God bless.