Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Looking for Life Preservers

I have talked with so many people recently who just want to escape from the constant assault of 24-hour news.

The world is closing in on us. It is hard for a democracy to hold the middle when assaults are occurring from the edges and from within and without.

Even sports news is no longer a shelter from the storm. We argue about everything before the games even start. It seems like some of our citizens take great pleasure in stirring up controversy over even the simplest of things. And the complex issues like racism are defined by people that seem to have no sense of history. To say that racism is the worst in our history seems to ignore the existence of slavery, the Civil War, segregation, and a whole host of issues that have been overcome.

I meet almost daily with a group of citizens who cover the whole spectrum of political beliefs. We try not to get into politics too deeply, but find a whole range of other topics to discuss and agree upon that show a commonality that seems to be rapidly disappearing in the general population.

It is discouraging that so many try to make every subject a “no limits” fight that must be thought in a certain way. This kind of absolutism makes democracy very difficult. Our nation has almost always been about compromise on issues. No one gets their way all the time. Now people try to avoid even socializing with those who think differently on issues. We no longer have discussions on difficult subjects or work to understand each other’s views. It is a dangerous and disturbing trend that is particularly evident on college campuses. Our nation cannot survive a place where we cannot talk about issues and where we try to criminalize differing points of view.

I suggest that we all seek places we can go where anger and frustration are allowed to fade away. And when you have excised the bile, reach out across the lines in the sand and try to understand that, for the most part, we are just people trying to find our way in a very complex and confusing world.

Yes, there are a few arsonists on both sides of the political spectrum, who seek anarchy and wish to burn up all the oxygen in the room. We can only put out these fires by exercising a little common sense and common curtesy. Let’s try to avoid the Fire and the Flood.

Glenn K. Currie

The Fire

Polemics have become the norm,
Matches struck by doctors of anarchy
Light fires in angry crowds.
Mindless rage fuels protests of everything or nothing.
There seems no place to hide.
It seems pointless to speak against the hatred,
Cause no one is listening.
All the world is a cauldron
Left on the stove too long.

The Flood

A death of a nation is always surprising.
It gathers slowly, then happens in an instant.
A raging sea suddenly hits those thought safe.
Individual rights are swept away,
Democracy and freedom are cast overboard.
And emotions and panic become the rule of law.
Ships of fools do not do well,
When the typhoons come,
And the whirlpools carry us into the abyss.

Copyright 2018

Glenn K. Currie