By Tony Farkas
The last fight I ever was in was in the sixth grade.
It was over a tetherball. I was placed in charge of the item by the teacher, and having such things like responsibility drummed into me (being a military brat and all), it was something I took very seriously.
When recess was over, I went to collect it, and was met with resistance from a classmate. Then the shoving match ensued, escalating to fists. Over a tetherball.
I did win, but I’ve spent the last umpty-ump years mulling that over and wondering why it had to come to that, and what other responses/remedies I could have applied (just for conflict resolution. There still was the whole reputation equation to consider).
Anyone wanting to say that escalated out of control is welcome to, and I will agree. I will point out, also, that the reactions playing out on the national and local stages are equally overblown and equally unnecessarily so.
For instance, what possible outcome could be expected when, as was played out last week, a man stalked and intended to kill a sitting Supreme Court justice? He was one of nine people in the room, for starters, and just because his stance regarding abortion and gun ownership doesn’t jibe with yours, it’s justifiable to kill him and his family?
There was a woman who, while in attendance of a church service at the megachurch of Joel Osteen, stripped down to her skivvies to protest abortion bans.
Another pro-abortion protester in Los Angeles found out how the Secret Service feels when she decided to take her protest a little too close to the presidential motorcade.
Those are just the latest examples. We can put the Jan. 6 Capitol building shenanigans, the summer of riots and the creation of Antifa and other organizations there as well.
Just like in the schoolyard fight, frustration and anger took the place of common sense and discussion, which then leads to even more division, since both sides reckon the other to be unreasonable (as well as ignorant) and that given the obvious, that we are the morally superior and smarter side, we’re right, you’re wrong, and ultimately nothing gets done.
(Just like in the schoolyard/halls of Congress, there’s “friends” or “media” on both sides stoking the fires, which really doesn’t help at all.)
Politics, like schoolyards, have perpetually been places of contention, and not always for the right reasons and using all of the wrong tactics. Is there really any reason for violence? Is there any reason for derision, cancel culture, threats and even rigidity in position?
The honest, and the hardest, answer is no. So how do we let the pendulum swing to the other side? Is it even possible to unring this bell?
Oddly enough, a liberal person on Twitter posited a very good, even amazing take. He said, “We don’t vote with a bullet. We vote with a ballot.” I’m thinking this is the best option ever.
There is a process, built into every government ever, of creating change. Don’t like a law? Work with elected officials to have new laws created. Don’t see a law? Work with elected officials to have one enacted.
Through measured debate, facts, moderate tones and actual discussion, problems can be solved.
Passion is OK, really. Extreme passion that culminates in violence and division is not.