I’ve been watching too much CNN/FOX television lately and got caught up
in the energies of politics.
It’s easy to do these days with so much happening in the news surrounding Washington D.C. It got me thinking about the heated issues of the U.S. debt ceiling and government shutdown and how I feel about it.
I choose not to use my writing as a platform to rant or vent on political, religious or any other issues that would further divide. I would rather write to unite and find common ground from diverse perspectives because I know a lot of people are affected, hurt and feeling the craziness. That’s what’s sad about it all.
Some of my initial reactions from the news over the past week
- Have you seen the headlines? It’s not just our looming U.S. debt-ceiling countdown and government shutdown, it’s a terrorist Kenya mall siege, a Civil war in Syria and the use of chemical weapons ― it’s crazy out there! Everywhere you turn; it seems as if the world has gone mad. It’s not just what we see on the news but what we deal with in our daily lives.
- You know what it’s like. It’s overwhelming, as it comes in waves, one right after the other. Makes me wonder who’s attacking and who’s at war? Are they people or something from outer space.
- When is it going to stop! There’s a showdown in Washington D.C. The U.S. government has come down to a gridlock over internal, government issues and time is running out on this sand dial for resolutions, where it’s especially critical with serious consequences. Debate has been going on throughout our history ― it’s the democratic way. But, this is different.
- For months, years even, since this administration has taken office, I can’t remember when the issues have been debated so viciously and to this extent. Maybe there was a showdown like this in the 1860s’ U.S. Civil War, when our country was divided over slavery. There is so much anger and mistrust that we have turned on each other ― and it’s ugly.
- The issues are not with hunger, terrorism or threat of nuclear war but whether we get our way or not. No matter what side of the fence you take, all the posturing and placating comes across as an attitude and mentality of “my way or the highway”, while the little guy pays.
But, having said all of that, after my fit of “rage”, I’ve always been of the mindset that anything is possible, even in the midst of chaos and dire conflicts. That’s mainly because I believe we each carry something very dear and special within us ― a mustard seed of love.
It may seem the seed is beaten out of us, camouflaged by the chanting of hate and rifles put in the hands of 10-year olds or it just abandoned us. But, it’s still there. It can’t be cut out no matter how deep it’s buried. It’s part of our make-up as humans. There is a basic desire to love or be loved.
While what’s playing out on a world stage in Washington D.C. is shameful, it’s possible what we’re seeing is a reflection of what’s happening within us in response to our jobs, our families and communities ― not just our country.
How willing are we to talk about our differences, when it comes to money, health, relationships, politics, faiths or philosophies (they’re all there)? Can we really enter into a discussion, if there’s a difference of opinion or do we feel we even need to? Have we, too, taken on “it’s my way or the highway” mentality? You can see how far that gets by looking at Washington D.C.
In 2004, I attended a National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation Conference at Regis College in Denver. Around 800 people came from all over the world with diverse cultures, some from war-ravaged countries.
It was an eye-opener for me, as I had no idea anything like this was even taking place. There were many workshops and people were learning how to talk with one another, listen, debate and discuss all varying degrees of conflicts and differences.
At this conference, on the panel was William Ury, an acclaimed negotiation expert and author of “The Third Side”. Here is an expert who has mediated situations ranging from family feuds and corporate restructuring to ethnic wars in the Middle East and the Balkans. After listening to his stories and reading his book, I became more convinced that if we’re capable of war ― we’re capable of peace.
It takes a willing heart and an ear of understanding to find common ground and get to the bottom of conflicts. Just shouting at one another with personal points of view, however valid they appear to you, only put the other on the defense. When we can’t resolve our differences among ourselves, we need help, perhaps a third side, as William Ury endorses. One, who is neutral, to moderate, keep things moving and lines of communication open.
There is a way to solve our conflicts, differences and ease hard times. It lies within each of us and we can realize it if we look for it and are willing to come together on common ground, with third-side help, if necessary.
Here’s an example, as reported tonight by NBC News “26 Sandy Ground, Where Angels Play”, how something bad is turning into something good when we nurture that mustard seed and come together:
Pat from the ol’ kitchen table
(Note: Thank You! October 11, 2013 – Shaun Gibson at “Praying for One Day” posted my story on his site as a guest blog.)