If you want peace, prepare for peace
While this goes dead set against an article I did many years ago where I discussed the normalization of extreme behavior, maybe it’s time we look at things from that perspective. In my years on this earth I’ve come to find you find what you’re looking for. One way or another. It’s the whole “which dog do you feed” question? We feel we must be heard and understood and over the last decade we stopped listening, if we ever really did, and simply started shouting. Nothing new here, just human nature shifting around with the times.
News comes fast these days, doesn’t it? Too fast it would seem for us to process. While we’ve always been prone to going by the headlines, the headlines have become click bait and later corrected somewhere along paragraph 4 to 10. News sites have become bullet points for their respective sides. Somewhere along the way we stopped reporting what happened and started reporting on what people SAID happened. Verification need not apply in far too many cases. Well, til paragraph 18. 8 days later. Maybe.
Ok, let me back up a bit. News itself doesn’t come fast and furious, but our need for it does. In the real world it would take say months to impeach a president. These days it just takes a few links to known sites and a lot of screaming IT MUST BE DONE FOR THE SALVATION OF MANKIND. Lord we’ve drama queened up, haven’t we? Everyone is a NAZI. RACIST. MISOGYNIST or the like. Immigration camps are WW2 prison camps. That alone is odd to me cause I never knew soldiers to walk willingly into them *and* improve their quality of life at the same time.
But again, news doesn’t happen every minute of every day. Manufacturing it does. Reporting on what people SAY for example, sure. But both sides of this ongoing civil war are looking for the next bullet to prove they were right all along. We can’t really agree on a definition of right and wrong anymore, but we sure what to be right. Whatever that is. What has happened during all of this is the erosion of commonality. Commonality of law; of mindsets, hell of goals. When life isn’t moving at the speed of our thought, we plug in the gaps with whatever it takes to make us feel better during this “in between”.
In between Presidents, parties of power, racism and normalism, hell, right and wrong. We’re certainly lost in an in between we’ve created for ourselves and the only way out that people have tried to far seem to include screaming louder and getting more extreme for every day events. Unfortunately we’ve pushed this to the point where words like Nazi, Racist, and so forth carry little to no meaning. It’s crying wolf in a herd of sheep that just don’t believe you anymore.
So people scream louder and feel more alone as that fails to get them the attention it used to. So we create “facts” and events based off our own loose interpretations of what happened, pulling from the media where it supports us and screaming FAKE NEWS where it doesn’t.
When we attack our political opponents for everything we can, we’re hurting us all in the long run. We set strange precedence’s and allowances for bad behavior because of something “that evil other side” did. Only did they do it? Did a warped media catering to our fears and anger feed us bullshit to get some clicks? Do we care as long as we have a reference point for our own emotional validation.
That seems to be what we’re after. We must be right and in order for me to be right, you must be wrong if you don’t agree with me. We’ve become binary. Yes | No. Love | Hate. Right | Wrong. Yet these are extremes in their own right and in any 2 extreme points there’s a million shades of gray between Black | White, isn’t there? There used to be. I’m pretty sure there still is. We just seem to ignore it because it can call into question our own mindset in as much as the others we so disagree with.
We certainly have prepared for war. But in looking, we’ve more looked for emotional validation and felt this was the path to that victory. Being right and them convincing the world around me of such. Citing examples of what our politicians are doing, or not doing, as our reference points when it suits our validation, not necessarily reality. Fake news has become a “get out of jail free” card and simply means we don’t need to validate things, just “feel” they’re right and emotions will carry us through.
As I look around, I just don’t see the emotional roller coaster working. For either side.
In 2016, Russians were accused of hacking our elections. Well they were accused of a lot of things but in the end, all I could find and ever get out of those discussions were they ran some Facebook ads. Well in my time in running Facebook ads they proved to be fairly useless and my posts still only hit the ones Facebook wanted them to hit anyway. But it had something to do with ads. They were running ads of deceit in order to get Trump elected. So I did something unusual these days and went and validated what happened. I found a site full of the ads of crime and found that 95% of them (that I saw anyway) were simply extreme group A jabs at extreme group B.
We did the rest to ourselves. Still are.
We as a culture in the US have put ourselves in such a need to validate how we *feel* we allow far too much to happen in order to make that happen we’d never have allowed previously. At least not to this extent. People are always going to be different. Policy, goals, ideals, cultures; but it’s our differences that made this country great but only when we built off the best of the best and came together. Calling the other side NAZI and COMMUNIST and so forth is great for emotional validation sure. But it’s not real; it’s not true; and it’s tearing up the foundation of the house we all say we’re protecting.
While we’ve normalized these extremes, we’ve destroyed all that gray area in the middle in which most of us live. We speak, think and feel in binary terms and have lost our own objectivity in order to satisfy emotional desires. In short, we behave like children and do the very things we tell children they shouldn’t do. “He made me do it” lost its effect when I was around 6. Or 1971 if you want to know how far back that would have been. My mother would say “how did they make you do it” and “because they did xyz” seemed valid til I came to the realization at such a young age I control my own thoughts. My own emotions. Certainly my own actions.
But all that is gone these days. We’re busy feeding the dogs inside us that seem to propel us to having to validate our emotions. If I’m wrong on this, maybe I’m wrong on everything.
But nothing is ever extreme on such a consistent measure. That just isn’t the definition of the word itself and we’ve got to stop changing words meaning to fit how we need them to mean *today*. The vast majority of us do in fact live in the middle of it all and we’re tired. Tired of the hate, arguing, bitching and screaming at our President, our elected officials, and in the end, ourselves. If we put 1/10th the energy into attacking problems as we do people, imagine.
So long ago I did write “If you want peace, prepare for war” and I guess to a point I saw all this coming. But how do we get out of this? How do we get out of this mindset of hate and destruction and realize we’re in this together despite our differences? When will we re-learn differences of opinion are a starting point to understanding, not extremism? Before or after the potential “civil war” people talk about? We have to change our mindsets and learn to talk civilly about where we disagree. We have to find that common ground we all do in fact share and build off that.
Our differences will always be there from birth to death. We just have to bring our own emotions under control and feed another dog. We have to stop going for the jugular and assuming the OTHER people are nefarious criminals because they don’t agree with me on things like Trump; immigration; education; global whatever it is today. To do that I’ve changed my mind in what we need to do.
Whatever we do and continue to; however choose to validate it; starts with us. It starts in how we set our own minds to see and react to the events and people around us. It’s saying “they made me do it” is a thing of the past, as it should have been after childhood. It’s the dog we choose to feed inside us all.
If you want peace, prepare for peace.0