Letters to the Editor 10/18/23

 

Last updated 10/17/2023 at 9:29am



Crossroad or crosshairs

To the Editor:

The lights blinking on my dashboard go dead. I barely make it to Les Schwab. Of course there’s a two hour wait. Years ago I would have been devastated, embroiled in victimized mind chatter. “What? I just spent a fortune on crawlspace insulation. Where am I going to get the money for this? Instead I think, “I’ve got time. Why not hike to the store, stock up on a few things from Bi-Mart?”

After shopping, I return the way I came with an armful of unwieldly bags. Two cars approach the intersection. My bags slip. I step back from the crosswalk to adjust them. The cars wait, but no way am I crossing just to have cans of cat food and toilet paper tumble out on the road, causing more cars to wait. I back up more and nod, but with arms full, I can’t wave them on.

One of the guys (with a perfectly good, working car by the way), yells, calls me a “f’n b” with a head up her. . . Oh well.

I feel a twinge, a pinprick of tears. I’m surprised. Tears don’t come easily these days. But come on, it wasn’t the best of mornings and I was just trying to do the right thing. At that moment the other car window rolls down and a Santa Claus character (long beard and broad smile) calls out, “See what happens when you try to do the right thing?” Of course my pain immediately turns to laughter.

Santa Claus man reminded me that if I’m objective, I can have empathy for the angry man. What must it be like to live in a mind so filled with perceived injustice that it’s easily triggered? How can I judge that?

Israel has declared war. Today I am not laughing. We all watched as innocent people were bloodied and thrown into cars. This hurt. Pinprick tears are angry ones. Why can’t humans get past long-standing victimization narratives, using violence and anger as justification for injustice?

Right now Congress is in chaos with victimization narratives, yet, of course, the United States will once again be called to be the middleman in this war, just as we were in Ukraine. After all, we are the weapons makers. No matter what we do, even if we try to do the right thing, someone will be angry about it.

I hope as a nation we will step back from the curb, reassess our own baggage before spilling everything on the road. Take action, but thoughtful action. Realize that no matter what our intentions, we cannot fix unwilling hearts, but we can take judgment out of the equation, be objective. We can make up our own minds about the actions we take without taking on the victimization narratives of others.

At a crossroad, or in the crosshairs. It’s all perspective.

Bren Smith

 

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