The Playground

I should never read the news before I write a blog post. It has a tendency to bring me down and it’s difficult to try to be funny or even tell a heart-warming story after reading some of the craziness we live in today. Sometimes, I feel like I’m back on the playground. All the tit for tat verbal fighting reminds me of third-graders calling each other names. I’m watching friendships disintegrate over differences of opinion in politics as if we are being forced to choose one side or the other. I guess I missed the memo that said we had to do this.

I have friends on the left and friends on the right. I believe in some of what both sides are saying and also disagree with some of what both sides are saying. I will not disown any of them because we all come from different backgrounds that have led us to these opinions. Instead, I choose to respect everybody’s opinion, even if I think they teeter into the realm of make-believe. I’ve seen people take a fake meme and run with it as if it were a fact. We have been so bombarded with false information, it’s hard to know what to believe any more and getting exceedingly difficult to prove or disprove half of what’s being said. Heck, some people still choose to believe something even after it’s been disproved. They will believe that the facts were distorted only to falsely disprove their opinion instead of considering whether the facts may have been distorted to give them that opinion to begin with.

Most of the media outlets seem to have bias in one direction or the other. Freedom of the press has turned into opinion pushing mechanisms based on loose interpretations of facts without the benefit of proof. We are beginning to live in a world where loyalty outweighs right and wrong. We will choose one media outlet over another because we believe only that one to be telling the truth while the others are making things up.

Civil debates are becoming rare because they often turn into personal attacks and name-calling…just like the playground. The playground mentality is something we are supposed to outgrow with maturity, but instead, we are returning to the playground as adults. Most alarming of all, we refuse to be proven wrong, even if the facts are lined up against us.

1ST KID: You have a fat head!

2ND KID: Well, you have a skinny head like it got shrunk or something!

Next scene has the kids tussling on the ground, swinging and hitting each other until they get broken up. Then they reach for their hats and put them on. Amazingly, they have the same size heads and it takes them a minute to realize they put on the wrong hat. This fact doesn’t matter.

1ST KID: Gimme my hat before you stretch it all out with your fat head!

2ND KID: Make me!

This is the playground mentality. Kids will duke it out until they get broken up or one gets beat. What I forgot to mention is all the other kids choosing sides and egging them on. They also don’t care about the facts and make their choice by loyalty to one friend or the other. By the time they get to high school, most of the playground mentality is gone…or at least it’s supposed to be. Apparently, we just miss the playground so much we choose to live on it for the rest of our lives…at least lately.

Now please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying we shouldn’t fight for what we think is right. All I’m saying is that if we’re going to fight, base it on actual facts. Refrain from the name-calling and personal attacks. All that does is create an atmosphere where eventually nobody can hear each other over the hurt.

I apologize to all of you for being so down with this blog post. I also hope nobody misconstrues this writing to be an endorsement of one party or another, it’s not. Instead, I am directing this writing to everybody who has chosen sides without considering why the other side might have a different point of view.

We are supposed to be one nation, one people, and one big hope for the world. We are supposed to be a country that espouses freedom to include freedom of speech. It seems now we have become a country where we only respect your freedom of speech if it agrees with “me.” Otherwise, we want you to just shut up and accept what we tell you.

But Mr. Dazeodrew? How are we going to fix this? I’m glad you asked.

Maybe we should all exchange hats. If we keep an open mind, we might just find that we are all basically the same…people who wear hats. If we bar fitted hats for this exercise, we will find that all our hats are adjustable to fit most heads, we just have to be willing to adjust them…kind of like our opinions. Also, instead of getting angry when somebody hands us a hat that’s too small, we can accept that they just have a smaller head and adjust the hat to fit our own head without calling them names. They didn’t choose their head size just as you didn’t choose your head size. It’s not their fault.

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