Perspective is Everything

I’m grieved.

A few days ago, President Trump made a disparaging remark about NFL players who kneel in protest during the National Anthem.  As with most things the president says, the remarks sparked an outcry from both sides.  If we didn’t hate each other enough last week because of health care or the wall or the issues with North Korea, now we can all hate each other over our favorite football teams.

And whatever side you’re on, even if you disagree with where I’m coming from, please try to hear my message.  Try to look at this not from my side or yours, but from the outside.  Objectively.  Is that even possible, you might ask?  I don’t know.  But I’m going to try.

It requires taking a big, giant step back.  Or maybe, up.  This might sound goofy, but imagine you are on the moon, looking down at our country from the perspective of someone, an alien if you will, who knows nothing about how we run things down here.  Yesterday I got so stressed out and fed up, I finally did this and what I saw surprised and saddened me.

In solidarity with what I believe is the RIGHT way of doing things, I’ve protested and spoken out and fumed over what I’ve seen.  Thing is, I have family and friends on the OTHER side who are doing the same.  They believe their way is the RIGHT way.

And do you know what keeps happening?  Whatever we disagree on, whatever we think might be a deal-breaker between us and our neighbors or siblings or moms and dads, those are the things President Trump likes to ignite.  It isn’t enough that we grumble about an issue, the president wants us to stop our grumbling and put on our boxing gloves.

I have a whole knapsack full of examples, but if I list them, they’ll only set some to nodding and others to shaking their heads.  We see things differently.  That’s what this country is about.  Yet for Mr. Trump, it’s not enough that we don’t agree, he wants us throwing punches and calling each other names.  And then it’s not enough that we’re duking it out and hurling obscenities, he wants us walking away from relationships and ending loyalties we’ve had all our lives.

Until we get off this merry-go-round, it’s only going to get worse.  Nobody is going to win.  The vitriol and divisiveness are winning.  Is that what we want?  Is that what you want?

What if just for today, we refuse to be ignited.  We WILL see something on the news or on Facebook that pisses us off.  I’d bet my right arm on it.  But rather than set our jaws or clench our fists or hammer out a comment to set some moron straight, what if we chose peace instead?  What if we tossed cool water on that flame rather than stirring it up?  What if we took a breath or two and then got up and walked away from our phones and laptops?  If it’s a family member, change the subject and ask about the weather or their kids or their visit to the doctor last week. If it’s a friend, invite them to coffee and vow to talk about anything but that.

Just for today.

Don’t get me wrong, the issues MATTER.  But we’re being played here, people.  We’re all characters in the biggest reality show on the planet right now, and our director is having a field day.

Copyright © 2017 – Paulla Estes

And P.S. This song came out the year I graduated from high school. Today it feels like we’re farther away from it than we were back then. But I have hope. We can turn the tide. Together.

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