By Jeremiah Morrell
This weekend has taught/reinforced to all of us a lesson that we were supposed to learn in childhood. We were born with two eyes, two ears, and one mouth. More listening and thinking and less speaking is the lesson of the weekend.
Somewhere over the course of the last few years, we have developed the outrage culture. Watching the events of the day, selecting only the portion that suits our own narrative, and then blasting it all over the landscape. We do it on our own Facebook and Twitter accounts. The internet media and “old” media are just as complicit.
The DC students and Native American controversy never made sense to me. The outrage happens faster than the facts can get to us. Being human, emotional creatures, we react before we think. Because 40% of the country was barricaded inside their homes, preparing for a blizzard, I believe our country got bored and reacted before we knew anything. A short video clip here, a headline or two there… Get in your corner! There is an internet battle brewing.
What we have to recognize is that our country is very diverse. We come from different places, we come from different backgrounds. The amount of diversity in this country is phenomenal. But instead of taking the time to understand others, we build echo chambers. We do it by only talking to our own friend circles, only consuming certain media outlets.
Driving home from the grocery store tonight, one of my favorite old country songs came up. Chris LeDoux’s “This Cowboy’s Hat”. It is a song about understanding the other side of a conversation. Attempt to listen to there side of the story. See it from their shoes.
Instead of recoiling and taking sides, try taking a breath and using your ears, and yes, even your eyes, before your mouth. I challenge all of us to visit new places, meet new people, and attempt to see how the other side works.
I am looking forward to visiting San Francisco, Washington DC, and Atlanta in the coming months. Very different than the midwest that we experience every day.
The important value for Americans is that we agree to live together, peacefully. We agree to not hurt each other. Not take each others stuff. Live any lifestyle that you want. Just don’t hurt the others.