Biff America: Six commandments we can all agree on (column)
July 22, 2017
Can't we all just get along? Yeah, at least politically, that seems unlikely.
Until both sides can arrive at an agreed upon frame of reference and reality, this current disease of national nastiness will metastasize.
Often is the case that anything reported in the media, that many on the right find troublesome, they deem "fake news." And by the same token, the spin that attempts to defend the GOP and its principles and policies, the left labels biased and cronyism.
Until both sides can accept a mutual reality and code of conduct, neither side will come to a partisan-free conclusion. We will continue to be affirmed, not informed.
The first step might be to never say anything online that you wouldn’t say to someone sitting across from you.
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I've been reluctant to wade into the political mine field in print for a few reasons. The first being, though my personal opinions are steadfast and heart-felt, I don't have the time, skills and inclination to sift through the entirety of the available sources to a point where I'd be confident that my declarations were entirely beyond reproach.
And lastly, I'm sick of the rancor. I'm sick of the insults and name calling, and there is nothing I could write that others haven't said or written many times over.
But we need to start somewhere. So in an attempt to begin with some baby-steps of establishing a common ground of reality, I'm going to try to take a stab at some assertions that, hopefully, both left and right can get behind.
1) Whether you are conservative or progressive, watching your dog poop in someone's yard or a common area — where other's walk and play — and then walking off without dealing with it is wrong on so many levels.
2) If you are driving and approaching an intersection where it is debatable whose turn it is and the other vehicle pauses, flashes headlights or otherwise motions you through, give them a wave to acknowledge thanks. And by the same token, if you are a pedestrian and a car stops to let you jaywalk as you pass, offer a smile and take a couple of quick steps to differentiate between entitlement and appreciation.
3) If you are approaching someone on a narrow trail and they stop and step aside for you to get by, if you don't have the oxygen to say "thanks" at least smile and nod.
4) Don't publicly correct someone's spelling or punctuation on Facebook.
5) Both armrests on an airplane go to the poor schmuck sitting in the middle seat. If you don't agree, you're an animal.
6). Be kind and respectful to food servers, baristas or anyone who has to deal with people like you in sometimes stressful situations. If the food is bad or slow to arrive, don't stiff the waitress — she/he didn't cook it.
I realize none of the above is profound or policy making, but perhaps it's a start. Though it is likely that even if we were able to reach a consensus on the above assertions, I don't see a meeting of the minds or parties coming anytime soon; such is the pity. Again, I think this is partly due to most of our news sources insisting on editorializing rather than reporting. And because of that many of us dismiss any sources that contradict our already-held beliefs out of hand.
Now granted the current situation is a recipe for lock-step ideology. But I still don't understand the insults, anger, name calling directed at those with opposing views. It's like screaming at someone because they like broccoli.
The first step might be to never say anything online that you wouldn't say to someone sitting across from you. The second to realize that every person's opinions and personality are arrived at by nature and nurture, over both of which they often have little control. Above all treat others as you would like them to treat your mother, sister or mate. There's a quote: "Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about."
Oh, one more thing on which we might come to consensus on: Don't take dating advice from Bill Cosby.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Biff's new book "Mind, Body, Soul." is available at local shops and bookstores or http://shop.holpublications.com/products/biff-america-mind-body-soul
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