Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In which I digress for a moment...

My youngest son, Caleb, talks to himself. I don't mean a little bit, sometimes. I mean a steady stream of chatter that Does Not Stop. In the car. In the bathroom. At the dinner table. It doesn't matter if anyone is around him or not. He talks. Constantly.

At the risk of sounding like a Bad Mother, I'm going to admit that this can get annoying. Sometimes I just want to tell him to be quiet! Apparently, I'm not the only one who feels this way. The other day Caleb was chattering away when my oldest son snapped, "Why are you talking to yourself?"

Caleb stopped talking and looked up at him. "I'm not talking to myself," he said. "I'm listening to myself."

I've been thinking about Caleb's response and how it applies to our society. Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard about the shootings in Arizona. Don't worry, I'm not going to get all political. I'm not blaming anyone other than the shooter for what happened there. Not his parents, not talk radio, not CNN news. You get the picture.

But I do wonder if as a country, it's time to stop talking to ourselves (let's face it, we all hold our own political beliefs and rarely can you change what someone believes by screaming at them and calling them names), and start listening to ourselves. We talk a lot. We'll do anything to "win". Anything to prove our side is right.

But what if our side isn't right? What if our side is right on some things, but not on other things? No one is right all the time, are they? So why have we drawn a line down our country and segregated ourselves into right and left? Why are we willing to vilify friends, neighbors, and family members who disagree with us? Most issues are not black and white. There are shades of gray in everything.

Maybe I'm showing why I don't feel like I fit with either political party. I agree with the Democrats on some things. I agree with the Republicans on some things. I know, Gasp!! She said the "R" word. Or--She said the "D" word.

I have friends, close friends, on both sides of the political fence. Somehow we manage to disagree, yet get along. Why can't we, as a country, do the same thing?

I think it's time to change things. And I don't mean we need to go march on Washington. Hold signs up and picket. I believe changing the tone of our political rhetoric is simple. It doesn't start in Washington. It starts with us. If we are angry and nasty with each other, if we insist on calling each other names, if we can't hold a civil conversation with someone who disagrees with us, how can we expect the people in Washington to do the same? I do not think we mirror what's going on in Washington, I think Washington mirrors what's going on with us. After all, what do the people in power want? Simple. To stay in power. So if they think we want fighting, and name calling, and angry rhetoric that's what they're going to give us. If they think we want civil discussion about the issues that's what they'll give us.

You see, that's what's wonderful about the United States. The government derives its power from the people. Not the other way around. I think we've forgotten this. We've become so wrapped up in Winning, in being Right ,that we've lost sight of what's important--loving each other. That's it. It's really not that hard.

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