So, last weekend, a would-be terrorist* struck, committing an atrocity with a horrific victim count. All decent people condemned the act -- and promptly retreated to their ideological bunkers.
We've been lobbing writings at one another ever since. We're not getting anywhere; our forting-up isn't even a response to one another as much as it is a response to the horror. And meanwhile, the survivors, a very mixed lot of humanity, are relegated to the background, part of the omnipresent TV wallpaper.
Let's not be that way. Yeah, yeah, the gal over there wants to round up all the Muslims and ship 'em out; that guy over there wants to throw every gun into a volcano; and yeah, they will probably never agree.
So let's find stuff more of us can agree on -- let's strive to treat others as we would like to be treated; let's judge others by their actions and not their regrettable wardrobe, hair-color or body-art choices, not who they vote for or who they date, not who their ancestors were or where they go to worship. Let's not look at the tags but at the person. Modern society relies on giving the other person the benefit of the doubt. No, I'm not saying you ought to go out and hug strangers; some of them aren't going to take it well and a very few will use the opportunity to take your wallet. --But most people won't; and more practically, most people, nearly all people, are perfectly fine to be around at arm's length.
Take some time out to be kind, however quietly you do it. Take some time to realize that even really annoying people with utterly addlepated opinions -- my heavens, how could anyone sincerely believe that? -- are, by and large, just people trying to do right as they see it, and if you disagree, you can get your own bumper stickers and resolve to vote right back at them on Election day, and not have to hate them up close and personal; they may be fine folks past your points of disagreement. --Or maybe they're not; maybe the other guy is an asshole. But an even an asshole who (as Jefferson wrote) "neither picks your pocket nor breaks your leg," and can mind his or her own business is not a real problem. You don't have to be great pals, you just ought to get along.
Let us yell at one another on social media while remembering that it is ultimately a kind of game, and that change happens at the ballot box and in Congress, spurred by the letters you send to politicians and by the efforts of pressure-groups you support. Some librarian from Duluth on Facebook is not The Enemy, they're just another citizen with another damfool opinion, worth as much as your own: one vote, one voice.
Don't be like the murderers and madmen of the world; be a citizen. Be, when you can, a friend.
* The reality may be more complex; an abusive husband with anger issues, who had a profile up on a gay dating site, is not a great fit to the profile of the typical Islamic suicide-killer. Nevertheless, a terror attack is how he wanted his murders to be known, having called up 911 and chosen team ISIS, and that's what I'm going with. Even if we understood his motives, his actions would be unforgivable.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
8 months ago