In the last two days a small transformation has taken place.
I have been reading a lot of public commentary on the American presidential primaries. I've seen a lot of people get really mad at each other for their opinions. I wrote some of my best stuff on a Bernie Sanders thread that seems to have been since deleted. It's a shame, because I wanted to copy my wise words and paste them here.
What I learned from that exchange, and my passion for my responses, was that keeping calm and not descending into insults and blaming leads to much clearer, truer statements. Also, when I remove much of my opinion from it and stick to facts what I say has a lot more power.
I have often read over things I have written, sometimes years ago, and I find myself cringing at some of the things I chose to write. There may be a few nuggets of wisdom in there, but I typically don't even finish the sentence of truth before I've gone and added something that makes my face and palm meet.
I may look over this later with a palm full of face as well, but I feel I owe my serenity to Bernie Sanders. I was reading a series of posts from a woman who is a Hillary Clinton supporter who came by the Bernie thread to call out a Berner who was trolling the Hillary page. I'm sad and embarrassed to say that she was attacked by several people who said very nasty things to and about her. In responding I said that these people do not fairly represent Bernie's supporters. The more hate and vitriol I saw, the more I was inclined to say, "at least I hope not." That is when I started thinking, WWBD? What Would Bernie Do? He would keep a cool head, not let his opinion get in the way, and he would come back around to the issues: the American middle class, military veteran services, climate change, the prison business, and so forth. All the things he sticks to and believes in "to the point of monotony" I believe I said. In the first debate he even defended Clinton on the email "scandal" and that reminded me that we don't have to hate and we don't have to take cheap shots at our opponents. What we need to do is look out for our fellow man and try not to do any harm.
This has led me to be able to think clearly about things and see different sides of issues while not letting my prejudice cloud the message I'm trying to get across. For a lot of people. thinking of things from the perspective of "what would Jesus do?" works for them, and that's great. For me there's a bit of a disconnect between me and Jesus. As much as I've let Him into my heart and I love and support His word, all I have is some quotes and stories in a book which I honestly haven't even read most of. With Bernie I've seen him speak, I've heard his words in his own voice, I've seen his passion, and I can more easily put myself in a frame of mind to ask myself how he would react in different situations. No disrespect to Jesus whatsoever. But Bernie (spare me the irony of him being Jewish, I get it) is a contemporary of mine. I can relate to his word because I'm living in the same world as him. Our struggles are the same, and don't require imagination to update the message to modern times, interpreting the word to fit our circumstances. Thinking of Jesus does give me some peace and level-headedness, but thinking of how Bernie would respond helps keep me on point.
I'm very sad and scared for my family, my country and for Bernie, when I listen to the Republicans debate about how to best keep immigrants out of our country, who will be faster on the trigger when it comes to bombing the Middle East or shooting down Russian planes, and how the corporations, the big money, the 1% must be protected. I fear for my family because if the Republicans get into the White House we'll likely all be dead in a matter of months. I fear for my country because the rhetoric of the GOP only makes other countries hate us more passionately than ever. I fear for Bernie because if, God willing, he is able to get elected, his term will be short before someone, and I have little doubt that it will be someone supported by the government, shoots him dead. Based on his record I think Bernie would be glad to die a martyr for the cause of equality and true patriotism, not to be confused with the flag-waving, gun-toting, slur-slinging far right, though he fights for them too, whether they believe it or not. It makes me sad that this man, who is trying to make America and the world better for everyone, and has fought his whole life to do so, has so little to show for it. It makes me sad that a clown like Donald Trump is able to bring out the worst in people, and the media eats it up. Many people across the world get the bulk of their news and world reports from television, and television is not giving them an accurate picture of the state of the world. To be fair, I get my news of the world mostly from Facebook, which is indeed pitiful and narrowed by the people and things I choose to view. I'm certainly not getting the whole picture either. But based on the recent debates alone I can say with certainty that I don't support the Republican ideals.
But you see, in spite of my strong feelings about this topic and my concern for the American middle class, I managed to do no worse than calling Trump "a clown," which I think is an arguable point. I didn't devolve into name-calling and profanity. I think that's progress.