I’m not sure we care enough……REALLY???

standing up for what you believe in 2

 

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……..

Really???

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.

The White House

 

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!”

Does protesting even work? Does it really make a difference to protest?

Does protesting even work? Does it really make a difference to protest?

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 positivelyย 

—) 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,

Kennet h

 

 

 



Categories: Culture & Society

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37 replies

  1. It’s indeed very important to respect each other’s beliefs, whether we agree or disagree with them. That would sure help a little in making responsible and/or good decisions, on a small scale or on a larger scale…
    Great post, Kenneth!

  2. โ€”) Would you stand outside The White House and protest? – No, I believe that when we find something we don’t think is working the way it should be, or are generally displeased (when it comes to policy decisions and or politics, , we need to provide VERY specific feedback and then OFFER alternatives, Workable, well considered alternatives. I don’t think there is much value, or use in providing negative feedback unless you’ve have really well considered a situation and then presented both the grievance and a potential solution and or alternative.

    Otherwise we are just complaining, with no purposeful, positive outcome in mind. Of course, some people just like to do that.

    โ€”) Is there something you believe in strong enough that would spur you to rally others to your cause?

    There have been a few things that have motivated me to take action, though not placard holding or screaming and yelling. I prefer to write letters, become involved in discussions, and forums and become as informed as possible about the area so that I can represent my views and suggestions in a way that is coherent, respectful and factual.

    Great blog. Thanks for sharing.

    Miss Lou

    • great thoughts….

      I will be entirely honest and say that I don’t really have a definitive opinion on standing outside the White house and protesting and whether or not I would do it.

      you make some great points on activism, and I think that activism definitely needs to involve the three things you mentioned; “coherent, respectful and factual”

    • I’m not bothered if other people choose to stand outside the White House with placards screaming. That’s my opinion on what other people do. I think it is important for us to engage in activity that we, personally feel makes a difference. This may well work for others and I do appreciate that.

      Though you did ask if we would do it personally.
      My answer is No – and that is based on the stuff I highlighted in my last comment ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for the speedy responses! Love them, they help to engage us is ‘discussions’ and conversations that can sometimes be really beneficial ๐Ÿ™‚

      Miss Lou
      x

  3. I think such helped end Vietnam War.Disappointed little such activism today. $30 million a day spent Afghanistan. USA casualties there and Iraq 7,000 dead, 60,000 returning amputees, 400,000 with permanent chronic mental or physical illness. For What?

    • right on….I think you are right. Even though vietnam was before my time, all the evidence seems to point to the fact that the pressure from protesters and journalists helped to bring an end to the conflict

  4. Not sure if we should be thinking about who stopped a conflict. i think we should wonder what started it and never go into conflict. We want to help sure. But we cannot help if people do not want to change or respect.
    “In order for a person to change they first need to be willing to leave a believe behind.”

  5. I just wish we could mind our own business and fix what’s broke in our own country before we jump in and try to fix everyone else. Maybe our national debt wouldn’t be so bad if we could spend some time on our own issues.

  6. Well, ok, respect the opinions of others, BUT, such tolerance is fundamentally paradoxical. Respect Nazi opinions, which include disrespecting all other opinions to the point of extermination? This is the basic weakness of relativism: if all views have equal value, then the view that no others have any value is equal to that view. Years ago, the psychological anthropologist Clyde Kluckhohn wrote a paper portraying Navajo culture as fundamentally neurotic. When he was criticized by cultural relativists, he pointed out that if all cultures are equally valid, his own was a perfectly valid point of view with respect to Navajo, especially since Navajos were never criticized by relativists for their perspective of Anglo culture. I hasten to add that I am all for tolerance and understanding, but it’s good to be aware of this problem. Bottom line: we don’t have to apply all principles equally to every situation. I know, I know, that’s so relativist!

    • Very fair point; I’m definitely not advocating extreme relativism where truth is reduced to nothing more than vague conjecture. Your point about the Nazi’s is spot on…….and we definitely cannot tolerate extremists who are trying to murder and kill an entire race of people. When it comes to extremists i guess we have to deal with it on a issue-by-issue basis.

  7. Who decided that loons were crazy. I think a world without labels and name calling would create more communication. 99.99% of the time when I hear someone calling someone else’s beliefs, lifestyle or actions crazy, it is because they are too close minded to learn what is really going on.
    Get one of those secret service guys to take a photo of you in front of the white house. Can you Really???
    come home without one.

    • “Get one of those secret service guys to take a photo of you in front of the white house. Can you Really???
      come home without one”

      ha ha….yea…that is not going to happen. Those dudes are WAY to intense….and that brings me to a question i did not mention in the post; how come I never see any FEMALE secret service agents??? I’m sure they exist but every time I only see men!

    • They leave the muscle work to the men. They are in the rose garden watching the Obama vegetable garden, looking for bugs.

    • Lol I sure hope not ๐Ÿ™‚

    • They probably assign the female secret service agents to the women to protect. It makes it a lot easier to stay with them if they need to go into women-only areas like rest rooms without anyone squawking about it. Also, probably not as many women as men in the agency.

  8. apathy is a disease i think. it’s interesting how people care but they don’t want to have to make the sacrifices of working to for those beliefs, to really support them. people love to complain but not actually do something about it. i agree that it’s important to be respectful in our differences. it’s hard for people to do that though and now there’s this feeling of “im right and you’re wrong and that’s all there is too it.” that attitude needs to be changed too. here’s to hoping for certain thinking/action or inaction as the case may be, changes positively.

  9. I don’t know about chilling out. I mean who will enforce it to the ones that are determined to do wrong? (OK, objectively wrong?) Apart from the cliches that It only takes for the good guys to do nothing in order for the evil to preveil.
    Anyway my two bits for chilling out:

    An American talks with a Russian guy.

    Says the American: You don’t have freedom in Russia. For example, we can go outside the White house and shout “The POTUS is stupid”
    Ah, says the Russian, you are wrong. We can go outside the Cremlin and shout”The POTUs is stupid” as well!

  10. I don’t think there is a problem of whether people care enough or not. It is that there is so MUCH to care about that it becomes overwhelming. I mean, I hate watching TV during the holidays because every other commercial is some charity trying to guilt me into sending them money I don’t have. I could win a billion dollars and give it all away to charities, and still feel like I never made a dent in anything. It is hard when what help you can give seems ultimately pointless, whether it really is or not.

    As it is, my limited funds are directed inward. Animal charities? I have eight cats, a dog and a rabbit that are not homeless, they are loved, and they are fed and sheltered. Yet I feel guilty I cannot do more. Children’s charities? My daughter’s family moved back in so her, her husband and my grandson are not left homeless. My son still lives with us, so he is not homeless. Veteran’s charities? I am a veteran, and so is my husband. He can’t work, so I do to support the above. I try to conserve energy, save water, recycle what I can, but I still feel angry about the environment.

    I admire those who can and do. Don’t get me wrong. Some issues I would rather they start working towards offering constructive options instead of screaming “Do this!” or “Don’t do this!” Depending on the topic, the media will air both sides’ views and they’ll both make sense, but neither will answer some pertinent, “Well, what would we do about X, Y and Z if we went with you?”

    But I don’t have time to dedicate my life to a cause, and I get mad because people make me feel guilty for not dedicating my life to a cause. No, I don’t have to, but I do, because I am someone who cares, but until I get a time turner so I can be in fifteen places at once, I have to make choices. (Would I have the nerve to protest while surrounded by police and secret service? If I were motivated enough, hell yeah.)

  11. Good points, but more importantly good for you for letting go and allowing yourself to think like a ‘loon’ ๐Ÿ™‚
    I have participated in a few protests in the past 2-3 years. It takes a lot for me to get out there, as I usually find the chants and drum beating kind of annoying (sorry fellow protesters!). Typically, a major breach in democracy will do it for me (like the infamous WI senate vote a couple years ago); or one party (doesn’t matter which) acting as though their vote into office is a mandate for them to follow a strict radical party line, when the politics of the people in their voting district is actually split down the middle.

    • I watched a lecture from a poly sci professor at Washington State University on one of the local PBS stations, and I think his summary was that the main 2 political parties are ideologically sorted, where most of the U.S. citizenry is not. I seem to remember him also saying (or maybe it was a different news source), that when you ask people to cite professional knowledge on a particular issue, them having a more extremist view previously, that they then start to skew more moderate when they basically realize… they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    • So I wonder what makes them identify as more extreme… Groupthink? Nice blog – and I used to be a frequent Washington State PBS viewer having grown up there ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Something like that, I guess, and that party members seem eager to reinforce that groupthink so as to appear committed and principled to the public by way of constant mass media scrutiny.

      And thanks for the kind words.

  12. If you would like me to take your chicken off my blog, just let me know. I hope you’re not upset that I drew him for you friend ๐Ÿ™‚

    • not at all, I think its really cool ๐Ÿ™‚ for those who want to see it, here’s the link

      I’ve actually had it in my mind to put the word out and see if any artists wanted to come up with a logo for my blog….Some kind of ‘monk’ themed logo that I could put in the corner of the homepage of my website….but I haven’t been able to figure out how to put the word out because;

      1) I haven’t allocated any funds to pay for someone to draw/create it
      2) I would feel bad picking one over others…if I were to get a bunch of submissions

  13. If we started warring among ourselves…would we want any other country to come over here and get involved in our fight?

  14. I would like more concern for domestic affairs… but… I don’t have money and a good lobbyist. I think I’m also not part of the right groups. Being on Social Security disability, but only being 39, I get all sorts of material aimed at folks 1.5-2X my age. I hope voters of such age will continue to have influence, BUT… their needs are not necessarily my needs.

    I try not to think on the news about domestic issues too much, because… it’s just depressing. Tired of explaining that I’m tired of jumping through more hoops/paperwork because someone cheated, abused, gamed the system. Tired of explaining my health problems. Tired of explaining to peers my own age that my life is NOT like theirs. I worry. Caretaker issues are a reality for me, four generations deep now– I call it “the sick taking care of the sick”. Yep, that’s my last living grandparents, my parents, my wife and I, my kids with special needs. Tired of partisan politicians slugging it out and I think they honestly couldn’t give a sh** about my struggles. I think they put on their dog and pony (ideology) shows for the camera, and until the camera goes off and they stop flexing and flossing, little is going to change.

  15. I was just speaking to a friend about this not minutes ago, but we weren’t talking about politics but about internal conflict here on our little kibbutz community in Israel of 125 families. ๐Ÿ™‚ I firmly believe and agree with you that people need to leave more room for understanding, for interviewing, for listening. People can start by asking more questions and speaking less in the I. Once we make progress in our own small little communities and in our families, hopefully we will see that work its way up to the greater world community

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