Things I Don’t Understand: Pledge of Allegiance Protest Edition

The world is messy. It always has been but nowadays, with the advancement of technology, the world’s mess…our mess…is in our face constantly.

We’re living in a time where being informed is the new cool thing. There are those who want to  hashtag it and wear their Coachella ‘fit to the march and then buy the commemorative tee because…they’re woke y’all. Then there are others who are on the front lines whether it’s standing toe to toe with law enforcement at rallies or working tirelessly to get legislation passed or pouring over never ending information and compacting it in an easy format to digest in order to inform the masses.

I’m somewhere in between the two.

I have to pull back from social media, I have to pull back from the news. It’s all so disgusting and overwhelming and frustrating. Turning my brain off to everything is a privilege. A selfish privilege.

It feels odd to have this platform and not discuss what’s going on right now; not that the world needs another social media keyboard warrior (or whatever that name was I was called once upon a time).

Here we go…

Some people are choosing not to stand for the national anthem and the country is in a tizzy.

The president of the “United” States has used his platform to influence consequences for those who choose to exercise their first amendment right. It’s not just professional athletes who are declining to honor a song that doesn’t honor everyone, they’ve been joined by average joes and veterans alike.

It’s a personal and an emotional topic for a lot of people. There are those who bleed red, white, and blue and are offended, outraged that someone could be so bold and ungrateful as to disrespect our country and those who protect it.

They fail to hear the reasons behind it. They fail to internalize that some people aren’t treated fairly or equally. These same people who are kneeling appreciate their country and the men and women who protect it. They have stated time and again that this peaceful form of protest has nothing to do with servicemen…and yet we’re told the opposite.

There is no listening in this country. There is no trust. There is just covering of ears and closing of eyes and screaming at the top of lungs: YOU ARE ________.

It doesn’t stop there, however. People have begun to physically retaliate against people who choose not to stand. Keep in mind that before this became a form of protest, I would regularly see people not stand at public events whether it was because they consciously didn’t want to or because they weren’t paying attention. Either way, no one used to bat an eye. This peaceful protest garners attention and all of a sudden everyone cares and refuses to communicate.

Communication. It’s hard for some people.

I didn’t learn how to communicate effectively until I was married. A little late in the game, I know.

My husband is a steady dude. He doesn’t overreact or get overly emotional about situations. He is led by his mind, not his heart. On the other hand, I am nearly his opposite. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong in the way either of us process information or situations; we compliment each other.

I didn’t always feel this way.

At first there was quite a bit of arguing.

You did this!

I didn’t do that!

Yes, you did!

You’re being ridiculous.

Fun times.

I can’t remember why or how but one day we took a breath and took a good ol’ trip back to elementary school. We began slowing down and using a script that I vaguely remember having to implement as a child:

You did ______ and it made me feel _______.

When you thought I did ______ I was actually doing _______.

Call it silly. Call it juvenile. I don’t care because it works for us. No matter what the situation was we were able to see the problem from each other’s side and gain some new understanding of one another. The conversation always ended in a genuine apology from both sides.

I’m not crazy, I don’t think this template will work for the problems we have going on right now but imagine if we could have these conversations and really hear each other. Imagine what the world would be like if someone told you that they aren’t treated as justly as you are and you not only believed them but had their back. Imagine what the world would be like if a victim came forward, as hard as it is, and you believed their experience instead of tried to poke holes in it. Well, maybe less people would suffer in the shadows. Imagine what the world would be like if we set aside our personal feelings and tried to really hear a differing opinion.

What would the world be like if we stopped pretending like our opinions are all equal?

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