In the wake of the Charlottesville, VA protests, one thing has become crystal clear:
- One side is motivated by fear, which leads to anger, anger to hate.
- One side throws around emotionally-charged language, calling the other side traitors to America.
- One side refuses to give any ground, refuses to honestly hear the other side out.
- One side sees the other as everything that’s wrong with this country. If only that side would leave America, she would be truly great again.
- One side has been trying to “white-wash” history for years.
- One side is just itching for another Civil War.
- One side is on a witch hunt, ready to destroy complicated people over voicing their opinions and utilizing their civil right as Americans to freely speak out without fear of repercussions.
- One side can’t or won’t see that where and how the other side lives plays a big role in that side’s opinions on politics, etc.
- One side’s idealism is the most important thing to them, higher than the people who make America great (i.e. Americans), higher than the laws that make America safe, higher than any religious precepts of peace. The idea, and not the reality, is the number one thing.
- One side resembles fascism in it’s complete devotion to the idea, and the utter destruction (so far verbally, reputation-wise, financially) of anyone who even appears to question it. There is no neutrality in this side’s eyes, how much less room is there for all sides?
- One side is more than willing to resort to violence as a catalyst for change, “if necessary.”
- Will one side stop at nothing for their ideal America to be realized? That remains to be seen.
Which side am I talking about? If you only see one side or the other, you are part of the problem. United we stand, divided we fall.
The heroin epidemic, the culture wars, a broken jail system, a broken education system, too much corruption in politics at all levels, too much greed, too much anger. As we face this upcoming presidential election that few average people actually want, accusations are flying: This is all the Millennials’ fault, it’s because of liberals/conservatives, it’s because of greedy politicians, it’s because of those who are uneducated/those who are educated, it’s because of sin, it’s because of religion, the arguments never end.
And yet there is a root cause, a common thread among all this: The fault lies with “The Blamers” (yes, I just blamed them), I’ll call them, and they are everywhere and of all ages. Blamers are quick to point fingers, swift to judge and condemn, and slow to apologize. Here a few examples of how Blamers work.
When a certain little boy jumped into the gorilla pen at the Cincinnati Zoo this spring, social media blew up with outrage from Blamers who, knowing almost nothing about the situation, had already tried and condemned the boy, his mother, the zookeepers, and zoo management in what amounted to an online mob-lynching.
Thankfully, there was a good deal of intelligent and thoughtful push-back-commentary from those who actually knew about parenting, and those who realized that accidents sometimes just happen. Where did the vitriol and judgement come from, lamented one popular author via Facebook. Where does it come from? From older people who’ve forgotten what parenting is like, and younger people without kids. It comes from folks with unrealistically high expectations.
The entire year of 2016 has been one diametrically opposed debate after another: guns, drugs, presidential nominees, parenting failures, religion, political parties, ethnic races, wealth status, and more. There is no middle ground allowed on any of these topics. If you propose measures for simple, common sense gun laws, you are labeled a liberal control-freak (is that a contradiction in terms?). If you believe in no restrictions, you are “clearly” responsible for every mass murder in America.
Where does it come from? It comes from people with unrealistically high expectations, either of their own superiority or the banality of others. Blamers, who seem only motivated to avert responsibility away from themselves without ever really thinking about the issues, attempting to compromise, or conceding that the other side might have a point. Whatever it is that’s happening, you need to know it’s not the Blamers’ fault! Is it possible this is a sign of a guilt complex? For, by refusing to talk to all sides, by casting the blame on others so quickly, these problems are never solved and are in fact exasperated. What is it Blamers are so afraid of?
Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” – Genesis 3:11-13, Blame: The 2nd Original Sin
I follow a few emotional abuse blogs but have become frustrated with the many 20-somethings who seem to think their childhoods were from the pit of hell because their parents were less-than perfect, not because their parents were genuinely abusive. There is real abuse, and emotional abuse is “a thing” but these young adults cannot see that people are multi-faceted, that people can be wrong in one thing and still right in another. These young adults cannot see that sometimes crap just happens and their parents did their best.
Where does it come from? These young adults are not “spoiled”, they have been drilled to think that anything less than perfection (as outlined by their parents/celebrities/authority figures) is simply not trying hard enough. Accidents don’t happen, they are made. These young adults are understandably angry that, after having been held to impossibly high standards by their parents (and often failing and then believing their failures to be an ineptitude of their own selves), they see their parents gave themselves slack when humanly necessary, while never giving their children that same grace.
I have seen first-hand the pressure, the high expectations, the workload of so many students. They are expected to be Straight-A students, scoring high on standardized tests, while also striving to be an athletic or music or science star, while also being in several clubs, while sometimes also holding a part-time job, while also staying positive in mind and healthy in body. These poor kids are crushed under this load, which is meant to pave their way into college, which then in turn is meant to pave their way to a successful (read: money-making) career and easy (read: materialistic) lifestyle.
At the same time, if these kids are not able to handle so much (and who could?) parents turn to labels and/or legal hoops to get their kids out of actually learning. They search until they find a doctor who will affirm a made up “disability”, they hold kids back in school so Johnny will be more competitive as an older child, they push kids forward so Suzie will be more impressive as the youngest child in her grade. If those tactics don’t work, parents can always use their favorite whipping boy: teachers and/or administrators.
Where does it come from, this drive to be “perfect”, the perverse need to be razor-sharp no matter who gets hurt or how deeply? Where does it come from, the arrogance of “knowing” you’re right without having to actually consider all sides, or the hypocrisy of squeezing kids into college so they can be educated, and then promptly dismissing that education with the words, “dumb college kid”?
Claims of police brutality and racism are running rampant, with few actually evaluating each case, preferring instead to draw blanket and sometimes wild conclusions about “the other side”. Two years ago, in a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio, a young man was shot by police after a 911 call was made. While verbal shrapnel and blame flew, the long and short of that particular incident was that everyone was wrong, with the exception of other shoppers, one of whom died from fear. The result was protests for months outside Walmart, coupled with fear of retaliation from all parties, anger, and resentment on all sides.
Where does it come from, the fear and anger? Surely there is some truth on both sides, but those great expectations have reared their ugly heads once again, telling lies and causing strife, inciting violence and more agony, where there should be unity and a resolve toward peace.
There are Blamers in every generation and in every culture. At the same time they condemn others for a seeming lack of hard work, Blamers don’t want to do the hard work of taking on proper and personal responsibility for their problems. They just like to watch the world burn, it’s entertaining and invigorating for them. It’s time we stopped listening to the Blamers, and started fixing our country.
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Peace, love and understanding; Is there no place for them today? They say we must fight to keep our freedom, but Lord knows there’s got to be a better way. – Edwin Starr, War
I was watching a documentary on diets the other night when a European doctor quipped, “Americans love to have an enemy.” I was stunned. How insightful, and as I considered the statement, I concluded he was right!
No matter the issue, we Americans do love to have an enemy to identify, attack, and annihilate. Be it obesity, cancer, politics, foreign relations, politics, AIDS, or poverty, we describe it as “war”; “fighting” against something or other. War on cancer, war on poverty, culture wars, the fight against obesity, and it of course spills over into religions too.
On the positive side, these are evidences we are a passionate people. We are willing to sacrifice and put ourselves on the front lines for whatever cause we believe in from feminism to religion, atheism, education, the environment, and many others. We are not afraid to protest, sign petitions, call our government, and otherwise make our voices heard.
All people need a purpose, a hope, and a reason to persevere through life, but living in a self (or media)-manufactured war zone day-to-day is unbalanced and exhausting. We do unnecessary trauma to ourselves and others who we tend to wrongly view as “the enemy”, in the name of war.
“But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me. I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late.
Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony–Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?” ― Erich Maria Remarque,
War is made to appear glorious in the media. War is always painted as good guys (“you”) vs. bad guys (“them”); good vs. evil. In reality, it isn’t usually so simple. In reality there are typically passionate people fighting viciously with other passionate people in a bid to conquer evil or establish justice, as each side would view it. Sometimes, ironically, as both sides would see it.
“All for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall.” ― Alexandre Dumas,
With this 2016 Presidential election coming up in November, I have never seen my beautiful, diverse country so stridently divided on nearly every issue. Emotions are running very, very high as most everyone is terrified of “the other side” and are choosing to vote not their conscience, but their fear. Why would politicians want a divided, unsettled populace?
[If your enemy’s] forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. – Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Politicians know that war is good for three things: unifying a country by giving it national purpose, boosting economy, and gaining power for themselves. Religious leaders understand the same things. By giving their followers something to fight for, they mobilize people to action and make a lot of money in the process. In the end, it is only politicians and religious leaders who win.
Let us not destroy our country and our people in an effort to make America her best yet.
“Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content.
But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.” ― Sun Tzu,
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