One of the reasons I know you read these weekly emails is because you know I’m always right. That what I say is absolutely true. That I alone have the answer, the solution to the subject at hand. That you know you would be wasting your time telling me what you think.
Yeah, right!! Pretty snobbish first paragraph. I hope I’m never really that way, and if I ever am I hope someone will give me a swift kick and bring me back to reality.
Watching the Presidential debates recently has not been the most pleasant or uplifting experience. They seem to be like wrestling matches between people with oversized egos, egged on by raucous crowds who want red meat, and the media that covets every, single, sound bite and plays it over and over and over and over again! I guess it’s democracy in action but too often it feels so mean-spirited, empty of any real substance or humility, filled with inflated egos that could fill up a hot air balloon: “No one else has the answers to all our pressing problems but me. My way is the only way and my party is the only true American party.”
Unfortunately, it’s not just in Presidential debates where we see this. Facebook, Twitter and the Internet are full of opinions… a constant barrage of partisanship that cuts across all political and social lines. Everyone is so sure that their opinion is the only right one. We see it in sports events with athletes preening and dancing after a play. We saw it a couple of weeks ago watching the disgusting smirk and smile of a young, former drug company executive who raised the price of a lifesaving drug by 5000 percent, as he testified before Congress and later sent out a tweet calling the committee a bunch of “imbeciles”. We even see it in religion: “We’re the only ones getting into heaven. God loves us best.” As one infamous bumper sticker proclaims: “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.”
Of course no one finally has a lock on the truth…no one religion, no one party, no one philosophy. (Sure, God may, but I don’t think God is quick or trusting to deliver that truth to a mere mortal.) Can we just say the world is a complicate place? It always has been and always will be. We face huge challenges. I believe the best solutions only come through dialogue, thoughtfulness and compromise….you know, where you actually sit down and listen to what the other person may have to say; where you consider that your ‘opponent’ might teach you something; that the other may know something you do not.
How does this happen? It begins by opening our ears and shutting our mouth.
In a recent blog, Frederick Buechner shares his definition of “Snobs”:
“Snobs are people who look down on other people, but that does not justify our looking down on them. Who can say what dark fears of being inferior lurk behind their superior airs or what they suffer in private for the slights they dish out in public? Don’t look down on them for looking down on us. Look at them, instead, as friends we don’t know yet and who don’t yet know what they are missing in not knowing us.”
Have a wonderful week!
You are loved,