Snail mail looks pretty speedy about now! Put your mail in an envelope, make sure there is an address on it, slap a stamp on it and put it in a mail box. And wait, and wait some more, for the letter to arrive at its destination. I screwed up my email accounts yesterday and snail mail looked pretty attractive for awhile. I could send emails, but not receive emails on one account, and vice versa on another, and fixing this necessitated a great deal of swearing. I know this should be easy, but sometimes trying to communicate with my iPad is “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” or “That is not logical”. Kudos to you if you can name the movies or TV shows these lines are from and the famous actors who said them. Boomers should know!
I can email, text, FaceTime, Zoom and message family and friends. I can also call or leave a voice mail if I need to. With caller id I can even see who is calling before I answer (or not). You would think with all of this technological support that there is no “…failure to communicate.” There is some thought that we don’t know how to talk in person anymore, and that there is no substitute for face to face and physical contact. I believe there is definitely some truth to this, but I have to point out that families who gather together physically may actually be far away from each other because of differing political and religious beliefs. The old adage of never talk politics or religion with family has never been as true as it is now.
The RNC has determined that the insurrection on January 6, 2021 was “legitimate political discourse” Discourse: the use of WORDS to exchange thoughts and ideas. There were some words exchanged on Jan 6, including many expletives and “Hang Mike Pence”! Ok, these are words and they do present “thoughts and ideas”, but the majority of the communication and exchange on January 6 was violent and harmful behaviors by Trump supporters. I doubt the 150 police officers injured on that day would say that getting beat up was “ legitimate political discourse”. The initial reaction to the events of January 6th by Members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, was not this is “legitimate political discourse”, it was fear for their lives and disgust at the events of the day. Unfortunately the communication from the MAGA base and the MAGA King was that things were not the way they seemed. Naming insurrectionists “patriots” was just the beginning of new “alternate facts” being presented. And we all know how the “Big Lie” lives on….
This is where I should share my great wisdom about how to communicate with our loved ones, our enemies or those we strongly disagree with. I would if I could, but I’m pretty much out of ideas. How do I (and we) stop being triggered by opposing viewpoints from the “other side”? I know a good start would be to stop pouring gasoline on the fire and dial down the rhetoric and blur the divide between the sides. I’m thinking that talking about it may need to come after we
begin to see the other as more like ourselves. Playing tug of war with the Donkeys and Elephants mixed on both sides might put rancor aside for a bit by the desire to win. Getting people with opposing views to laugh together might also soften the sharp edges. Other than gathering the “big kids” on the playground or at funny movies, how do we get positive feelings to reach across the great divide? I wish I knew.