by Kenneth Justice
~Yesterday during my short stay in Washington D.C. I walked by The White House and found myself surrounded by protesters. Quite a few men and women standing outside President Obama’s residency with mega-phone’s shouting and demanding the President intervene in the Egyptian crisis…….
—) Would you stand outside The White House and protest?
—) Is there something you believe in strong enough that would spur you to rally others to your cause?
Perhaps many of you are thinking, ‘The Egyptian Crisis???’…..Syria has been such a hot-topic for the past few weeks that its possible many of us have forgotten about the latest coup which took place earlier in the year when the Egyptian Military ousted the largely Muslim Brotherhood backed Egyptian Government.
The recurring theme in the Protester’s chant was their suggestion that inaction on the part of President Obama was just as bad as him giving the go-ahead to murder……..
Isn’t that what we’ve been discussing off-and-on for the past couple months; the fact that many of us are tired of the United States getting involved in foreign conflict?
And now….these protesters want President Obama to intervene in Egypt. Let’s be honest; no matter what decision a President makes; there are always going to be people who disagree…..right?
Isn’t that the human experience; the whole world will never agree on everything. Hell, there are philosopher’s I’ve debated who argued with me that ‘we can’t even know if we exist’! There is always going to be someone disenfranchised by the decisions we make.
But perhaps this is where I am different; even though I disagreed with elements of what the protesters were demanding…..I nonetheless really respected them in standing up for what they believe in.
I mean lets be honest, it takes a lot of guts to stand outside of The White House with a megaphone and billboards, surrounded by the Secret Service (they were crawling all over the place watching the protesters like hawks), and standing up for what you believe in.
Would I have the guts to stand up for the things I believe in just as these men and women did yesterday? I’d like to pretend that I would, but I’m honest enough to admit that fully armed Secret Service and police standing all around can be quite intimidating. Would I really stand outside the house of the highest elected official in the land and yell at him/her?
Its interesting how protesters can cause such dissension among us;
–) When some people see protesters they get annoyed, they think to themselves, “oh great, another bunch of bleeding heart a** h***s”
–) But other people think “All right! Protesters standing up for what they believe in! Give em’ hell people!”
Last week I wrote a series of articles dealing with the psychology of how we think about issues. In psychology, the problem we often deal with is not changing something about the world, but rather changing how we think about the world;
—) Learning to deal with the ‘unfairness’ of life
—) Learning how to replace our negative addictions with positive change
—) Learning how to think more positively
—) Learning how to use perspective in our thinking
Thus, when I encountered the protesters yesterday, it didn’t matter whether or not I necessarily agreed with what they protesting about; I appreciated them for standing up for what they believe in.
That’s a big thing for me to admit to you; because for most of my life I judged everything based on whether or not I agreed with someone or some issue. I was very one-dimensional in my thinking…..everything was too black or white. I was too intense.
–) There was no place in my life for deeper conversation about issues because I was very close-minded.
–) I believed that the music I enjoyed was the only ‘good’ music
–) I believed that the clothes I enjoyed wearing were the only right type of clothes for everybody
I moralized a lot of issues I had no business moralizing; everything was too black or white.
Perhaps I am going out on a limb here, but I believe the only way we are going to begin solving some of the problems that exist in the world is if we all take a deep breath…..and chill out just a tad. We need to give each other some room for the beliefs we all hold dear. We need to learn how to have positive discussions even when we disagree. We need to learn how to get along….and how to not attack people with whom we disagree.
Am I being a loon again? Is my thinking still nothing more than the delusional byproduct of the coffee I drink?
I sure hope not….because I think I’m going to have another cup,
Categories: Culture & Society