Have you noticed how the weather doesn’t know how to be normal any more? It’s always record heat, or extreme drought, or flooding rains, or monster twisters (no relation to Chubby Checker. Okay, a show of hands – how many actually know who Chubby Checker is? Or that his name is a take-off on Fats Domino?).
Yes, weather lost its mind a while back, and is now certifiably crazy. And with the weapons it has at its disposal, that is a truly frightening thought. Super-Steroidal-Storm Sandy is the latest sad example. So don’t say anything bad about the weather; it’s liable to respond in an extreme, over-reacting way.
Which reminds me of America today. Especially the political arena. Even the phrase “political arena” conjures images of feeding foes to the lions. Somehow we’ve become the “shout-them-down” nation. If someone doesn’t agree with us, let’s trample their right to free speech. “Yeah, that’s a good idea! Let’s label them extremists, or failures, or liars, because they don’t agree with us!”
Just tune in one of the political talk shows. Do we see an orderly discussion, a spirited but civilized debate? No, we see six people shouting at once. Apparently volume is king. The louder you are, the more correct your opinion is. If you can silence your opponent, his opinion was of no value.
Could it be that the weather and political extremism are related? Is one influencing the other? Is Mother Nature fed up with us? Are we causing climate change because we’re jerks? Is there global warming because we’re a bunch of hotheads?
Don’t look to our political “leaders” to lead us out of the extreme mindset. Political campaigns have become a disgrace to the process of democracy. The winner is often the candidate who drags his opponent through the most toxic mud. Where is civility? Shouldn’t civility be an inherent part of a civilization? Where is respect for others? Isn’t that a quality we should find desirable in our mayors, governors, senators, presidents? If they can’t lead us in that area, where are they leading us?
Maybe we need to lead them. Let’s show them, by example, how people should be treated. Yes, even the people whose opinion differs from ours. Whether it’s left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative, or even the Great Chick-fil-A Debate – why not treat each other as fellow Americans who have more in common than we have differences? Let’s let everyone respectfully express their opinion. Let’s not obstruct someone else’s right to free speech. Let’s not shout them down. Let’s not ridicule them. That’s why we have politicians.
Let’s show our leaders how to treat all with respect, and let’s expect the same in return. If we want to be outraged about someone else’s opinion, how about those who openly preach our destruction, and have acted on it, in horrifically violent ways? Should we really be attacking fellow Americans over differences of political opinion? We are not the enemy. Don’t let politicians and PACs tell you we are. We need to stand together, or we will fall together.
In the end, we will get the leaders and the country we deserve.
And who knows? If we all calm down and treat each other with respect, maybe the weather will go back to normal. I’d enjoy some gentle rains and soft breezes for a change.