Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Walking on Hard Boiled Egg Shell Psyches

"Why did we get lollipops Mom?" my daughter asked.  We'd just come from the drive thru at the bank and the teller and I go way back, (5 kids ago) and so she always loads my canister up with the deposit slip and enough suckers for each of my kiddos.  

"It's just nice." I answered.

"It is just nice." she responded. "It's not my birthday or Christmas or Easter or anything." she added.  Then she turned to her baby sister who was enjoying this sweet on a stick for the very first time, her eyes shining with discovery and happiness at the sticky sugary goodness.  "Sometimes, we get lollipops for no reason." she explained.  Apparently, our youngest child is merely visiting our family, sort of shadowing and my next oldest girl is in charge of closing the deal.  Stick with us, sometimes you get candy is a selling point.  Babygirl nodded. She was I think willing to agree with anything at the moment, especially if it meant the possibility of getting another cherry lollipop. 

We live in a brave new world, where dissent from popular opinion, be it political or spiritual can get you virtually tarred and feathered if your tweet, blog, Facebook status, comment or email falls upon unfriendly eyes.   The instant you out yourself as being the political stripe opposite of what is currently trending, prepare for a thousand righteous stone throwing responses, all equally sure that not only are you an ignorant fool for postulating something other than what popular consensus deems correct, you are a malicious ignorant fool that deserves heaping piles of scorn by people who will at the same time bemoan the lack of civility of society today in their next postings. 

Society cannot continue if our first, last and only response is to throw stones and congratulate ourselves afterwards on our clever stone throwing, our reasonableness, our thoughtfulness about our own positions in things political, societal, cultural and moral.  Society will dissolve if we can only get along if everyone agrees on everything.  Our circles of agreement will get smaller and smaller and eventually, we will find ourselves on the outside of someone's circle, and the stones will fly.   The only way we stop this, is to opt not to, even when we think things are justifiable, when we think we're not only right but that thinking any other way would be mere posturing or ignorance or willful malice,  put down the rocks. We have to opt for mercy even if we think the recipient doesn't deserve it.  Because honestly, none of us do. 

Because one day, we'll be the one hoping, mercy shall be ours.  Some day, we'll hope to get mercy for no reason, because we'll have no reason that warrants it. 

The alternative is we shall be dominated by whoever has power and can shame the most forcefully, whoever can throw the stones hardest.  And no matter who you are, one day, that won't be you.  We can create a world in which not only do you have to earn any lollipops, you probably won't, but it won't be nearly as sweet, happy or fun.    

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