The other day, on my way to work, I was driving the speed limit on my way to the highway and all of a sudden, a big white pick-up truck sped around me. The driver wanted to make sure that I knew that he was irritated. This person obviously did not want to “drive friendly. “
Then there was the remark by the White House Communication aid regarding the ailing US Senator that basically said:
“Don’t worry, he’s dying anyway! “
As one of my friends would say:
“We’re not even letting the body get cold. “
What has happened to us ? As a country and society, we are getting meaner and not charitable. Are we worse than we have ever been before? I doubt it. But nevertheless, the visceral tone and lack of civil dialogue in our country right now is of concern.
There has not been so much anti-immigrant sentiment in our country since the late 19TH Century with the Gilded Age. We are seeing more graft and corruption daily among political and corporate elites. There’s driving while black and now sleeping while black. We don’t talk to people that we don’t know; instead we call the police.
More and more false narratives are being spun about how we should view ourselves and look with suspicion and doubt regarding “the other. “Certain political leaders will repeat inaccurate statements enough until a fair number of people will believe them.
We’ve seen this movie before. Benito Mussolini said:
“ Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy. You in America will see that some day. “
In her book “Fascism: A Warning,” Madeleine Albright says Benito Mussolini “initiated a campaign to ‘drenare la palude’ (‘drain the swamp’) by firing more than 35,000 civil servants. Madeleine Albright sees a ‘drain the swamp’ link … – Concord Monitorwww.concordmonitor.com/Mussolini-and-the-swamp-17431279
Being mean does have its advantages. You can intimidate and you can threaten like a taunting school yard bully. My eigh-year-old grade school experience with a school yard bully finally erupted one late Spring Afternoon. I hit the kid’s fender on his bicycl, with my wooden tennis racket, and dented it. Of course, a big fight erupted with me delivering a punch to the bully which left him with a bloody nose.
Then weeks later, I got ambushed by the bully’s big brother who wanted to hit me, but didn’t because I was wearing glasses. It just goes to show that even some neighborhood thugs are capable of exhibiting some charity.
The experience, of course, taught me that being mean and using violence doesn’t solve a thing, except deliver more meanness and violence.
Why can’t being kind and teaching kindness and civility towards others become an essential for us instead of being optional?
I once was with a group of military officers. We were participating in a war game exercise where there were decisions made about which buildings would be attacked versus those which would be spared.
One of the officers commented to me what I thought about this exercise? I replied, “I’m concerned about those who are injured, those who become refugees.” There was no response from the other officers.
I then observed:
“We are all reptiles in the same room. “
We must as a nation move away from being mean to embracing again being kind and showing charity.
A room full of reptiles will inevitably attack each other.
We are much better than this.
Our future as a country depends upon it.
May it be so.