There are a lot of things in this world that don’t make sense to me. I don’t see how cocoa beans can be roasted, ground, and modified to make the amazing morsels we know as chocolate. I can’t fathom how most of the world is unexplored laying right inside our oceans. But above all there is one thing I don’t understand, and it’s the one that seems easiest to resolve.
The other day I was on Twitter and someone I follow posted how his political side was better than the other political side because the other side is always outraged. He posted a video of a rant someone made stating this.
Now, the fact that he posted a video of outrage about outrage was lost on him. So was the fact that the news cycle on his side had been blowing up with outrage over the untrue cancellation of Paw Patrol and bitter disappointment with Elmo.
Despite the lop-sided view, I get his frustration. Sadly, his frustration stems from his lop-sided view. It stems from a problem I don’t understand, because it’s easy to resolve.
Angry, Bitter, and Afraid
The news is full of people who are angry, bitter, and afraid. Recently the president of a police union had a news conference to decry the backlash the police have been having. Another police officer went on social media to express her fear over her food being tampered with at McDonalds.
A woman decided to police her own neighborhood by confronting someone who was drawing a chalk message of Black Lives Matter in front of a house only to be harangued on social media when the person she confronted was the owner of the house.
I get it. People are angry at how they are being treated and afraid of what their lives will look like. However there is a piece to the puzzle I don’t understand, and it’s the piece that would help to fix it all.
In the video with the police union president, he overwhelmingly used the words “I”, “we”, and “us”. He talked about what they were going through and demanded respect. Not once did he question the fact that if they felt disrespected, what must the people who are raising their voices feel when they don’t have the backing of the government, the law, or legal force.
With the video of the officer ordering at McDonalds, she expressed real fear. Her concern was that the food was taking so long because she wondered if it was being tampered with. I saw a lot of piling on throughout social media, without empathy for what she must be feeling. It’s scary where she’s at. What I didn’t see in the video is her asking the question “if I’m worried for my health right now, what must the people who are speaking out feel every day?”
The woman who approached the man chalking out a message of “Black Lives Matter” on the wall in front of his house was concerned, but was she concerned for herself and her neighborhood or for her neighbor?
A Different Approach
The one thing I don’t understand here is the lack of empathy. It’s the thing that would bring a lot of healing we all need.
What if those police officers took a moment to think about what it might be like to be in someone else’s shoes. After all, the police have all the power, qualified immunity, weapons, and more. If they are afraid, what do the people who have none of those things feel like? Maybe it’s time to listen instead of talk.
And the police officer who feared for her health because of a late order – what if she took that feeling and extrapolated what Black people must feel for even walking down the street… or playing basketball?
Or being approached by a police officer.
And what if the woman who was policing her neighborhood instead just took the time to get to know her neighbor?
What if we spent less time enforcing what we want, and more time finding out what others want? It’s an easy way to solve our problems and get a little perspective. I don’t understand why we don’t do it more.