Today is; “Cow Appreciation Day.” I had no idea. It wasn’t on my calendar, I didn’t get a card, or buy a cake for the cows across the road whom belong to my next door neighbor. I only discovered the meaning of this day when I was on Twitter this morning and saw the #CowAppreciationDay.
There’s also a more serious discussion happening on social media the last several days following the deaths of two black men and five Dallas police officers. Protests on both sides are popping up in many cities across America and the chant, signs, mottoes being used are; “#BlackLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter or #AllLivesMatter. The debate seems to hinge on which slogan to use and which one is insulting to one or all groups.
I haven’t waded into these heated debates and have no plans to do so. I understand, as best I can, both sides of the arguments while conceding that I am a middle-aged white man who has never been treated differently because of the color of his skin nor does my job put me in harm’s way or call on me to make life and death decisions at a moment’s notice on a daily basis. There is passion, pain and persistence on all sides of this needed and difficult discussion.
My heart hurts to see brothers and sisters at war with each other. The vitriol and hate spewed at times by both sides makes me wonder if we’ve ever been or will ever be a nation at peace. I hope so, but to find common ground both sides must admit the sin, damage and harm inflicted purposefully and accidentally upon the other.
The definition of appreciation is; to recognize and enjoy the good qualities of someone or something. It is to value, treasure, admire, respect, regard, hold in esteem or high opinion.
“To recognize and enjoy the good qualities of someone…” Sounds like a good place to start to me.
A friend of mine walked into a metaphorical hornet’s nest today with a social media post on the situation in Dallas, the death of 5 police officers and 2 black American men this week. What was written wasn’t inflammatory or derogatory it was her opinion on the crisis our country finds itself in regards to race, law enforcement and the reality of people being hurt and killed on both sides.
It didn’t take long before someone took offence at the post and began attacking the post and the author. My friend posted back, trying to clarify what was written, but it was too late. The poster had already decided my friend was wrong, ignorant, racist, incompetent, a dreamer.
One of my favorite wisdom quotes:
The mark of a wise man is the ability to think a thought without necessarily believing it to be true. #Aristotle
We live in a world where folks are so quick to choose sides. They formulate an opinion and plant their feet firmly in their belief. We’ve seem to have lost the ability to listen, examine, mull over our opinions and the opinions of others. People like to pretend things are simple. We come up with, or across, slogans, mottoes, memes, social media posts, news articles and use them as weapons to defend our ideologies, prove we’re right and others are wrong. We use them as litmus tests to separate “us” from “them”.
We live in a complicated world where more than one thing can be true and/or false. The issues which plague us are not going to be solved by catchphrases but authentic dialogue. Only when we stop seeing others as “them” and not “us”, only when we sit down and confess the ignorance, biases, judgments that exist on every side. Only when we realize our thoughts, ideas, impressions, opinions and beliefs aren’t necessarily true because we think them will we be able to take the first real step toward healing.