I will do better.

Posted November 19, 2015 @ 10:31am | by Tripp

The public speech online is terrifying. From all sides, it seems to me that we have lost the ability to listen to one another. I find myself firing off smartass quips rather than reasonable responses even to unreasonable statements. I wonder if we might not do better somehow. 

Fear mongers abound. We are afraid of Syrians. We are afraid of angry young white men. We throw around statistics like they were meaningful data points. We prooftext holy writ as if that was ever a convincing argument to someone who disagreed with us. Words like "always" and "forever" litter my social media streams.

The fear is compelling. No doubt. And for some it is well founded. But what are the better responses to fear? I'm not convinced yet that shutting ourselves off from one another is the better response. I want to do better than that. 

Threats to life and liberty are real. But these threats are not what or, more accurately, who we think they are.

The real threats to life and liberty come from fear mongers. No one political party or broadcast network can claim a monopoly on these thought influencers. We are being taught to fear someone else at every turn by people who benefit from our fearfulness.

We are being pulled apart and set against one another. Such divisiveness is a choice. We can do better. 

So, here is my promise. I will refrain from fear mongering in my social media threads and in my conversations with other people (Yes, even in the library; I know, crazy, right?). I will refrain from dropping statistics like they were somehow convincing arguments. I will refrain from prooftexting holy writ as if that were a convincing argument. I will listen to you as you share your fears. I will try to offer such solace as I can. 

And when we disagree, and we will most certainly disagree, I will love and respect you and stand beside you in our disagreement. We will share a table. We will gather and sing. We will do whatever we must to strengthen the bonds between us. 

Some people want us separated from one another. 

We can do better. I will do better. 

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