I am in pain as I hear about the murder of George Floyd, knowing that this is just one in a long line of murders of black people in our country. I care deeply about the agony and fear that the black community must be feeling right now. It breaks my heart. I am scared as I see political and social stability crumbling all around me. 

I have to go somewhere to take a break, hopefully somewhere productive. So I go into my head and try to figure out something useful. If you are interested in my thoughts on what would be useful, read on.

Two truths:

1: No one wants less pie and everyone wants more. 

2: It’s hard to make friends when there’s a lot of yelling.

These things are pretty obvious. Why are you putting them on your blog? (I hear you say)

Well, I think these obvious things are the keys to giving the USA a chance to become a peaceful place again. I think you probably want that too.

1: No one wants less pie and everyone wants more.

If you read the news, there’s a lot of angry shouting. Why are people angry? 

Some are angry because they feel they should have more of something. Others are angry because they feel things are getting taken away from them. 

If you think of the economy, rights, social status and other things we all want as a pie, the question is, who gets the pie. Does it go to this or that social group. The fighting is over who gets more and who gets less.

Some people think the people who got less pie before should get more now. Some think that the people who always get more pie should continue to get more and everyone should just accept it. 

I don’t think anyone can be happy with less pie. The only solution I can think of is to bake a new pie that is enough for everybody.

What does that mean? How can we possibly make a pie that is enough for everybody?

Well, there are things that are limited. We only have so much water, food, fuel, money, power etc. There are also things that are unlimited. Love for example. Connection. Ideas. 

Those are things that when you give them, they grow.

So what? That’s a nice idea, but how does that help?

Well, it’s not just woo woo. When we are loved and cared for, we feel safer and we can make better decisions. We see things we didn’t see before. We feel like our lives have meaning. We can create better worlds to live in. So these unlimited resources are important and valuable. The unlimited resources can even increase the limited ones, or at least make them feel less limited.

Is that enough to fix the mess we are in? No, it’s just a start. All kinds of things need to happen that address the suffering of the black community including reparations and atonement for slavery. But how we talk about those changes and each other is an important element. Changes that happen through violence and force can’t be trusted to last and flourish. Changes that happen through healing and understanding are stronger.

It’s not easy. Love requires commitment. It requires trust and trust requires a long sequence of positive interactions in the real world. So..on to my next point.

2: It’s hard to make friends when there is a lot of yelling.

People who can trust each other usually have safe ways of expressing anger. 

There are things that should be off limits, at least between people that could be friends or allies, such as name calling and insults. It would be better if folks could say “When you…(whatever you did)” “I felt…(however you felt)” instead of judging a persons soul.

If we are going to create an unlimited resource that can soothe fear between social groups, attention needs to be paid to long term relationship building. That means that agreeing to express anger in safer ways, in person, in writing, and online, could be an important kind of activism.

I could talk more, but it’s enough. That’s my 2 cents on the current crisis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.