Occasionally, I get folks that ask me what I think about this or that news topic. I am really unsure of what they are looking for — on the one hand, they may genuinely want to know my opinion on something or have a true discussion about the topic in order to help process a different perspective. More often than not, its usually someone wanting to argue or debate a point that they feel is relevant from their perspective. I can understand that – a need to argue one’s point of view in order to derive more meaning from it. I don’t really find it to be all that productive though. After all, a debate tends to seek a “winner” and a “loser” in the end. I’ll point to the definition as outlined in dictionary.com’s entry:
…a formal contest in which the affirmative and negative sides of a proposition are advocated by opposing speakers.
Perhaps I am just a little too old, and a little too set in my understanding of the world around me, but I have no desire to spend time trying to be in a “contest” over an opposing viewpoint. That sounds an awful lot like what the politicians of today do: endlessly argue over some ultra-fine point of legislation, tying up the entire process until the problem eventually goes away. Then no one needs to make a decision. And then no one gets blamed because something was or was not done — the problem just went away.
Ok, perhaps I am a little jaded over the entire political process. I can admit that in the way I look at politicians and legislators. Endless, pointless arguments over issues with no regard for how the problem is currently affecting people for whom the problem is very real.
In a manner of speaking, this is a lot of the way I see the issues of police force that are currently permeating the news. There are many ways to slice up the information and dissect it to figure out who is at fault. Perhaps its just the police for using the force? Perhaps its the people that have a blatant disregard for the authority of a police officer to enforce the laws of the community? Perhaps its the individuals that choose to resist arrest for [x] reason? Perhaps its the officers who profile individuals based on their skin color, clothing, hair-style, gender, brand of cigarette that they smoke, the type of water bottle they carry, the area they live in, or whatever strange, curious or obvious division or descriptive that can be created and utilized??
I hear [and understand] the people that scream for the firing of officers that are involved in incidents such as the ones that have made the news lately. What about the people who choose to set fires to businesses shortly after they are done looting them? I certainly don’t hear or see protesters trying to get these individuals into the hands of the authorities to have them prosecuted for the crimes that they have committed? Perhaps I missed where the looting and burning of stores within the Ferguson, Missouri community were “ok”…
Sure, I hear the racial overtones to things. I grew up in the late 1970s, and early 1980s – where we tried our very best to be inclusive. But I wasn’t foolish enough to believe that racism was over. I have heard that a lot too. That my generation was foolish enough to believe that racism was over. Trust me, many people I knew during that time frame were not foolish enough to believe that. But we had certainly hoped that a large enough dent had been placed in it. Now, thirty some years down that road…I can see that the dent has been pounded back out.
Who am I blaming? No one. No one at all. And all of us. Every. Single, Fucking. One of us. I am not here to debate any of this either. Its the way I think. I tend to keep this stuff to myself. If someone else reading this is nodding and saying “I’m confused about this too” — have a seat next to me here on the curb. I could care less who you are. Or the color of your skin. Or what religious beliefs you have. Have a seat and be confused with me…and remember, debating this is going to do nothing. But then again, I have to wonder what can we do?? My only thought is that we stop classifying ourselves according to our skin color and genetics. Perhaps the best step we can take is to start classifying ourselves as human beings. How we get to that point – is, in my opinion, anyone’s best guess.