Saturday, January 7, 2012

Elusive Saturday Slap

Photo: Flickr via Roberto_Ventre

I heard something on the radio yesterday. Now, I have said before that I am a bleeding heart, over the top, kind of disgusting you KNOW I was listening to NPR. The specific story to which I was listening is irrelevant to my ultimate point, however if you want to know exactly what it was: "A Search for Change" on The Story

In the interview, I heard the most miraculous thing. The man at the focus was talking about his own "radical" notions, as perceived by the Federal government. He had disrupted auctions of public land for drilling and was being indicted. His purpose was to cause civil unrest and make the lives of those whom he deemed responsible for climate change uncomfortable. As he put it, he was dangerous in jail or out of jail. If our government put him IN jail, for expressing a non-violent dissent, what did that say about our free and democratic system? And out of jail...well, he'd just keep organizing. He felt a call to action and he followed it through, and it was costing him quite a lot.

Over the course of the interview, he mentioned talking to Tea Party members. And here's what shattered my mind; like the kind where I literally stopped being conscious of any other thought process for a moment. He said that in speaking with Tea Party people, he realized that his and their goals and ideologies (at their bases) aren't so different...and that ground level dissent, when united, really COULD change things. 

Okay, so let's put immediate politics and theories to the side, because there's much about the radical right movement that my radical leftist tendencies can't abide; however, he was absolutely correct when he said that the fundamental theories are the same: We are discontent. And it behooves both sitting parties to keep us squabbling with each other. As long as we demonize the opposing dissidents, nothing has to change at the top. It's a brilliant strategy to keep the small ones, those tasked with holding the system up, distracted. 

And, because I don't want this to be a political treatise (I don't make any claims of understanding enough to do that) I want to make this point: there is a conspicuous lack of compassionate language among opponents. 

Speaking to one another in respectful tones, with language that reflects a basic understanding that we are in a shared struggle, will FURTHER any endeavor in which we find resistance. When we speak to one another in measured ways, taking care to seek understanding, we don't imply agreement. Rather, we demonstrate basic humanity. Disagreement is allowed and encouraged because it keeps everyone engaged, learning and open to better paths for success. 

In the very core of ME, I don't believe that simply seeking understanding can hurt anything ever. There is no requirement for my agreement when speaking to someone whose views differ. I can walk away from them thinking they're whackos who need really intense help from big Pharma, but I must be respectful of their humanity and right to think what they like. They are someone's sister, brother, mother, father, daughter or son. Whomever we meet, under any circumstance possible, has a basic humanity that I think we're being indoctrinated to disregard...and that hurts.

So that's it. That's what I have to say on this Saturday (morning in my hemisphere). 

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