Saturday, November 21, 2009

Psalm 109:9

If my warnings about parallels between modern day America and Spain just prior to its Civil War (here and here) struck you as overblown, have a look at this.

Whichever side of the cliff you're on, the most helpful thing you can do is to consider the ways you - in your thinking, speaking, and actions - disrespect, dehumanize, and fail to generally empathize with the other side. Different people with different views need to live with each other and recognize that America can be both of us. Our empathy muscles grow flabby as our outrage muscles hypertrophy. At this point, feeding your outrage further will do nothing. All that's left is to redevelop our empathy.

The unimaginably bloody Spanish civil war began with a symmetrical impression that the other side was not really Spain. Lately, the American right has been talking more and more about "the real America" (as opposed to the supposedly "socialist" left), much to the offense of the left, who brands their supposedly fascistic instincts "anti-American". Few spot the symmetry, and fewer still have noticed the (shockingly similar) parallels to pre-war Spain. Worst of all, the dehumanization - on both sides - is reaching a scary point.

We all need to understand that bloodshed in the streets is truly possible, even if not directly imminent, and that the conditions for this have been fostered evenly by both sides. There comes a point (e.g. Israelis/Palestinians) where neither can back down. Hopefully some conciliation will arise before we reach that point.


Big Fella said...

Whether it is the right versus the left, Israelis vs Palestinians, "patriots" versus "terrorists", fear and ignorance are powerful motivators. We all have to call up the requisite courage to be open minded and willing to consider heretofore unconventional or inconceivable ideas.

Kirk said...

All that's left is for one side to start calling the other "Rojos" and for the other to create a "DivisiĆ³n Azul" (yeah, I know that was after the civil war)... Oh, wait, don't we already have the Reds and the Blues.

I think we need more empathy and equanimity; less ego and enmity. Hmm...not a bad way to live.

Jim Leff said...

"we need more empathy and equanimity; less ego and enmity"

Amity, not enmity! Eggos (frozen waffles), not ego!

Kirk said...

Lego my ego!

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