While sitting in the airport, waiting to board my flight, I ran into an acquaintance who was catching the same plane. We don’t know each other well, but see each other at networking events and are cordial. The news station on the overhead television was covering a story about a high school student who used social media to “expose” a classmate as a “dreamer” with undocumented immigrant parents. His action resulted in the classmate being bullied and legal issues for her parents. I must have sighed subconsciously, but audibly enough to be heard, because my acquaintance took the opportunity to chime in with her opinion that she believed the young man had done the nation a service.
I thought about cautioning her about “casting the first stone.” I THOUGHT about pointing out how very easily I could have done our our community a “service” just last week, by taking a picture of her license plate and posting it on social media when she (very able-bodied) chose to park in a handicapped parking spot to attend a chamber luncheon we were both at. I thought about it, but I have to confess the thought of the whole conversation exhausted me, and so instead I excused myself to the restroom.
I am not sure when we all became so very nasty to, suspicious of, and condemning of each other, but American has clearly forgotten how to listen to each other and communicate respectfully. We have forgotten how to look at each other as human beings first, rather than as “red or blue,” “left or right,” “Trump supporter or baby-killing-tree-hugger.” We have forgotten how to agree to disagree and still treat each other with respect anyway. Furthermore, we have all very clearly forgotten how to look ourselves in the eye before we condemn someone else. And I am no exception. I found myself very quick to judge the young man they were discussing in the news piece – just as quick as my acquaintance was to judge the “dreamer” girl. I was quick to judge my acquaintance for her poor parking choice… And yet I would certainly not want anyone clocking my lead-footed speed on the interstate (equally as illegal as parking in a handicapped spot, and probably more dangerous.)
The Hopi adage that my mother often quoted to me, “To truly know a man, one must walk a mile in his moccasins,” is profoundly relevant here. We can all continue on this spiteful, partisan, snippy, judgmental path if we choose – but I propose we all look for the plank in our own eyes first. OR… we could make a different choice and stop judging each other and start listening to each other again.
I choose the latter. Would you consider joining me?