Our country is experiencing the most tumultuous and dangerous period that I can remember since the race riots in the 1960’s. Political dissension, racial profiling, random massacres, gender prejudice, a reckless and deceitful media, entitlement, and more have caused a division of American of Biblical proportions. Some believe terrorism to be the greatest threat to our national security; others say it’s our economy or healthcare system. There are those who claim it’s the political venom that resides in our nation’s capital while some hold our current or prior Commander in Chief fully accountable. Yet in truth, America’s greatest threat today is the hatred and extremism among our own people.
Regardless of what’s occurring in Washington or what is being reported in the news, the division of our great country lies in the hands of each and every citizen. We are the ones responsible for buying into the rhetoric, the lies, and the repugnance put before us. We are not sheep – we are intelligent adults with intellect and free will. We have the capacity to collect data, process it, make distinctions concerning which issues or beliefs are valid, and respond in an smart, fair, open-minded, and thoughtful manner with regard to all parties concerned. It is terrifying to see how easily people are being manipulated by lies perpetrated upon them by one political side or the other or from individual citizens or groups that push their agendas of hatred and bias under the guise of equality and prosperity for all.
One cannot pick up a newspaper, turn on the news, or read social media without being subjected to hatred and divisiveness. Yet to bury one’s head in the sand and avoid facing the reality of what is happening is both unpatriotic and dangerous. This issues will not resolve themselves and will only escalate unless the courageous are willing to take a stand and peacefully put an end to this wickedness.
“All that is necessary for evil to exist in the world is for good people to do nothing.”
Here are some practical suggestions to save America and restore unity:
~ Remember that extremism never works whether it’s in regard to our political beliefs, religious practices, loyalty to our heritage, financial status or any other matter. Extremism causes a distortion of reality. Moderation creates a healthy balance and keeps everything in its proper perspective. Moderation is the solution. Consider your own beliefs and examine them for any radical ideologies.
~ Before spewing hatred of any person, party, or group, consider the impact your words will have on our entire country, including yourself, your children and grandchildren, friends, and loved one. Words are powerful and can easily result in similar actions. Consider that you can only get back in life what you send out into the world. Hatred begets hatred; kindness reaps unity.
~ Disagree without disrespect, hatred, condemnation or violence. Always be respectful to all whom you speak of or to. Disagreements can inspire growth; disrespect and condemnation can lead to aggression. We’ve disagreed peacefully with one another for over 200 years; we can do it again.
~ Listen objectively to both sides of the political agenda and media coverage in regards to policies and what is actually happening in our country. Somewhere in between the extremes lies common sense and good judgment (in regard to creating policies) and truth (in regard to reporting the facts).
~ Discuss, share, and post in person or on social media FACTS ONLY. When sharing opinions be certain to state them as such. Refrain from promoting misinformation by fact checking using reliable sources.
~ Encourage open minded dialogue for the purpose of understanding the other person’s perspective. Remember that each person’s position, no matter how different from yours, is equally as valid to them as yours is to you. If an objective must be reached, agree to some sort of compromise.
~ Go out of your way to extend a kindness to everyone you encounter regardless of familiarity, age, race, nationality, gender, political affiliation, religion (or lack of), and so on. Search for every opportunity and every excuse to perform an act of kindness for someone.
~ Accept what you cannot change. Not everything in life is meant to go your way. Mature, fair-minded adults will find some sort of internal resolution when they concede to the other person or party. Find some way of making good come out of the current circumstances and move on.
~ Realize that sometimes one side must acquiesce so that the other can gain. Remember that the pendulum always swings back in the other direction. Just as in sports: sometimes one team wins and the other loses. It’s a natural part of life. But even in so-called losses, one can extract great value.
~ Promote peace, kindness, cooperation, oneness, forgiveness, acceptance, and mutual respect. Speak it and live it. If what you are about to say or do does not fit into one of the above categories, do not engage in it. Find another option.
Never before in our history have people in this country been so gullible and bought into so many lies and distortions. Our great Constitution begins with the words, “We the people”, not “We the sheeple”. We have always been great innovators and autonomous thinkers. It’s time to get back to who we really are rather than the hateful, gullible, mindless followers we’ve become.
There’s an ancient story about a young man who approaches the great philosopher Socrates stating that he has something to tell him about one of his friends. “Before you impart any words on me,” Socrates said, “it must pass the Triple Filter Test. First have you made certain that what you’re about to tell me is absolutely true?” “Well, no,” the man replies. “It’s just something I heard.” Socrates continued. “Is it something good?” “No, not really”, the man replied. “So let me get this straight: you want to tell me something that you have not verified is true, and it’s also not good news. Is it at least useful to me?” he inquired. “No, it’s not”, the man concluded. Socrates shook his head. “It’s not true, not good, and not useful. Why then would you share this with me? What is your purpose?” The man could not give him a reasonable response. So the question is, would your words pass or fail the Triple Filter Test?
I believe in the basic goodness of the American people and I also believe that there is hope for our great country. But as citizens and visitors, we must all share in the responsibility. To blame others is both childish and irresponsible. So what are you waiting for? Will you be the one to turn things around, to take the first step to restoring civility to America? Will you be the change you want to see in others? I will and I am. I pray you’ll join me. Let’s make our country noble again by making our country kind again.
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. Be great.”
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