There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today
We don’t need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today
<What’s Going On>
Yesterday I was driving and on KISS-FM in Atlanta they played an a cappella version of Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’.
The music played over my thoughts of the front page of the New York Post I saw which read “Civil War.”
And while I am frustrated with America and its seeming inability to be the best version, its noblest version, of itself … I got a little angry.
That headline was wrong. And the media is wrong to stoke such misperception.
This is not what’s going on.
There may be a clash of people’s attitudes <highlighted by the violent actions of small … very small … groups of individual’s inappropriate behavior> but the headline is inaccurate.
To be clear. A headline like this suggests an “us versus them” at its worst.
It creates an either/or mentality where complexity gets dumbed down to inaccurate simplicity.
It creates an either/or mentality which encourages us to be, and express, the worst version of ourselves.
This clearly does not, and will not, help us address the complex reality we face.
Add on the layer of the internet and social media and our worst version gets amplified.
Add on the layer that the amplified voice, and voices, the reach into the minds of the few mental-health-in-need individuals in a greater culture in which tools of violence are far too readily available.
I point out the layers because whatever we do, and we need to do something to inhibit or to stop what is going on, each layer needs some solutions to create obstacles to an alignment of disparate variables which enable the unacceptable occurrences we see.
We need to accept that divisiveness in rhetoric affects attitudes and ultimately behaviors.
We need to accept that mental health reform, societally discussed … culturally discussed … and professionally discussed, needs to be not only discussed but dealt with.
And, yes, we need to accept that gun ownership, or the prevalence of everyday people having guns, often makes police work more challenging and increases the likelihood of errors affecting people’s lives … in that there are split second decisions made on <a> whether a person they are facing has a gun and <b> will they use it or not.
All of these things lead to a difficult complex situation in which divisiveness and extreme points of views tend to not be very productive … if not even detrimental to the overall situation.
And while we can talk about guns, or the economy <because economic inequality and lack of real opportunities creates a foundation for unhappiness if not anger> or any other issue we want … we need to begin with the words.
“We don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note.
Only notes that are different can harmonize. The same is true with people.”
Whether we like it or not … words beget actions.
Any good speaker, any good leader, any effective protestor knows this is fact.
Their words have inspired people to act for generations.
Therefore we all must acknowledge the consequences associated with what we say.
Free speech and freedom of thought is at the core of who and what America is.
However … hate of what is said and what is thought is the counterproductive ugly side of that freedom.
I say this because you cannot be either for police or against police … they are an integral part of the fabric making up the structure of America. We are all pro police.
I say this because you cannot be either for or against immigration … unless you are a Native American they are an integral part of the fabric making up the structure of who and what America is. We are all pro immigration.
I say this because you cannot be for or against racial equality … equality is an integral part of the fabric making up the structure of how we live in America. We are all pro racial, and general, equality – of people & opportunities.
No matter one’s beliefs … the rhetoric of extremism seems to create an absurd version of “us versus them” where … well … no one wins … we are all the victims.
What I mean is that when extremism is taken in totality, where each side states that if you don’t believe what I believe you are not only wrong but “bad”, … well … uhm … the only conclusion would clearly place everyone, when taking in all views, clearly as wrong & bad, i.e., no one can be right because everyone at some point ends up in a “wrong bucket.”
Therefore, what’s going on is a divisiveness which suggests everyone is in the wrong.
And if that is true … well … in a land of nothingness nothing will inevitably win.
Here are the most powerful words I can think of to address this discussion.
It’s got to stop.
We need some fundamental changes … in attitudes and in behaviors.
We have to because, at this time, we are all victims.
Not just the ones who die or are physically directly affected.
We are all victims when the system fails.
We are all victims when our leaders fail.
We are victims when a small group of like minded people fail.
We are victims when an individual fails.
We are all victims if we fail to do something.
We are all victims when we begin to believe the bigger vision of who and what America is … is … well … failing.
We are all victims when the rhetoric is divisive.
American violence is clearly out of hand.
American inequality is clearly out of hand.
American divisive rhetoric is clearly out of hand.
Too many simplistic inaccurate depictions of what’s going on make it incredibly difficult to find the common ground where common sense ideas can prevail.
And this is where I look to leaders and what’s going on.
Let’s call them our ‘governing officials” <politicians>.
And I discuss this hesitating … hesitating because I truly believe in the power of people and the power of an individual to say ‘it stops here & now’ and that in doing so attitudes, like dominoes, begin to fall in line.
But in a country in which politicians will not seek common ground but instead shout out the top of their lungs “all things divisive” … how can we the people be united?
If leaders <on both sides> refuse to compromise … it is us, we, everyday schmucks who pay the price.
We are the victims of their behavior.
Let’s be clear on the situation.
2% of us take one side and are violent.
Another 2% take the other side and are violent.
It would be nice if our leaders acted like the 95% of us.
What’s going on is absolutely a reflection of a complex number of things … but we should not ignore the words of our leaders and the effect on our own actions.
With people like Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz … articulating unequivocal hard edged stances and stubbornly espousing uncompromising beliefs under the guise of leadership … shouldn’t they expect everyday people to do the same?
When congress members berate their counterparts and their views, the people they vehemently disagree with, as grandstanders and not capable of seeing & accepting truth … how do they expect the everyday person to act and think with regard to their fellow citizens?
“I can see we’re going to get along like a house on fire,” said Miss Tick.
“There may be no survivors.”
When presidential candidates, presidents, congress members isolate individual members of the highest court in the land, The Supreme Court, suggesting bias or incorrect opinions or that simply because they do not agree with some particular view that they are wrong <or unable to view legal issues as legal experts> … well … how do they expect us everyday people to think and act about our legal system let alone any ‘expert’?
What’s going on needs to stop.
All of it.
I will do my part in my little corner of the world. But I call on my leaders to stop what’s going on in their larger part of the world.
They need to understand that their divisiveness sets an example for the attitudes and behaviors of the people who have selected them to lead.
What’s going on is a pervasive divisiveness driven by a diverse set of circumstances and situations and factors. All of which can look so overwhelming you almost may not be able to decide where to begin.
So I will offer the first step.
For you, and me … and my leaders.
It must stop … to stop what’s going on.
Unite America by offering uniting rhetoric. It is amazing what can happen, what will actually ‘go on,’ if everyone actually believes we are united.
I tend to believe all of us every day schmucks know that we have problems and that there are issues to be resolved … but I would feel a shitload better if I truly believed we were united in addressing them.