It’s been a while since my last Sunday Edition you might have noticed. The intention was most definitely every Sunday but I found myself trapped in this cycle. I told the channel about what I was doing — weird side note, even though we’re a podcast, and a website, and a facebook page now… I still call us a channel and I am unsure as to why — and they were all extremely supportive. I am verbose, willing and able to express myself in a relatively coherent pattern, and we have this website thing so… sure. Why not, right? We use Slackchat — a great program from which we don’t receive sponsorship from, but would love to — for our communication and organization and no sooner did I create a chat room dedicated to the Sunday Edition, did I get inundated with suggestions for articles I could write. Things that the group was interested in hearing my opinion on.
I was very excited by this and read the articles with fervor but the reading always ended the same way…
“I can’t write that, I’ll offend someone.”
For anyone who knows me personally and is reading this, which if we’re being honest here is probably all of you, you know this is not a phrase you would expect to be attributed to me. I pretty much say what I want so long as I have facts to back it up — always important to me — but here I am…
Which got me thinking, “How did we get here?”
I realize it’s a faux-pas for a writer to leave things as an open question, but the reality here is I can’t draw any conclusions. Fake news has been a problem, it’s been a problem for forever. I remember when I was younger my father — who knows DOS like the back of his hand to this day, but still can’t manage Windows all that well — read a report that said there are sleeper viruses on hundreds of computers and most people don’t even know. So you should delete a few select .dll files from your System32 folder. My Dad announced this and told me to go to the basement to do the same on the kid computer so I was on hand to immediately stop him and explain that there was no way this was legitimate… But he doubted. He tried it anyway, had to re-install windows.
But now instead of people deleting vital files from System32, we have people entering a business with a rifle because people on the internet cannot fathom that it’s easiest to feed thousands of volunteers and campaign staffers with pizza. No no. Child trafficking/porn ring out of a pizza place; That’s the easier pill to swallow.
And I’m still left to ask; how did we get here? I ask this open ended question because I don’t think it’s easy to answer and I don’t know that I have the perspective for it. It baffles me. I — as a Christian — have weekly phone conversations with an atheist who is also a devout feminist… And she’s one of my closest friends. Had my wife allowed me to have a woman as a groom’s person, she’d have been one of them. And people, myself and my friend included, are blown away that we have respectful and measured conversations. We discuss our often conflicting point of views. We get passionate, we get loud, and at the end we essentially say “Love you buddy” and we hang up the phone. And I’m not talking 15 minute things either. I’m talking an hour, minimum, talking ad nauseam about all manner of subjects we disagree on, and I mean diametrically opposed in some cases.
But when it’s all said and done, “Love you buddy”, and do it again a week later.
And that is terrifying. That is the terrifying thing. It’s terrifying because as two smart adults who have a relatively broad lens with which we view the world, we understand that this is an abnormality. This is halley’s comet. This is aurora borealis. This is a basketball shot from the other end of the court to tie the game with 3 seconds on the clock… And that’s not a good thing.
But still I’m left to ask; how did we get here? What got us to this point where we have to hate the person on the other side of this argument?
Something I want you to think about this Christmas season as your Uncle Terry is four-too-many eggnogs into the day at two in the afternoon and you’re thinking to yourself you gotta tell him what a piece of shit he is…
Do you? Is he? I dunno. Maybe he is, but you should probably know that for sure. And I’m not saying that your fight with your racist/misogynist/whatever uncle is the cause of these problems. I’m not. If I’m saying anything, I’m saying this: Maybe we should love and forgive each other for a few weeks ’till we figure out why our first impulse is to kill each other.
With that all being said I leave you with wise words from Stephen Colbert’s election night coverage.