Before the trouble in Charlottesville Virginia erupted this weekend, a little known report was released. In it, a citizen panel recommend not removing the statues of Robert E. Lee and others from the park, but instead to keep them and add information to help others better understand the history of the area and race relations. The news about their report is here.
Arielle Scarcella tweeted, "If you want to actually change how people think, then you have to allow them to be where they are and work from there." My initial reaction? Brilliant! So I quoted her on my Facebook page. Then I added this – my own thoughts:
"There are people in this world fomenting anger and distrust, some because doing so furthers their political goals. That is, get people to fight with each other, make a scene, and so on, so they can 'divide and conquer.' A bunch of people busy arguing are weaker, as a group, than a bunch of people working things out.
In order to counteract this effort, it is up to us, we who wish to create peace and harmony in the world, to stand back and not play into this melee! So, how do we do that? We get with the person who seems to contradict our opinions or beliefs and we listen! We accept them for who they are, regardless of what outrageous (to us) ideas they seem to carry around.
In short, we see the person, not the opinions. We acknowledge our commonalities, our shared human qualities. We can discuss political stuff later."
A friend of mine on Facebook replied that sometimes this isn't easy. I responded, "You bet! Starting a flame war is easy. Putting out the fire takes perception and work!"
Glenn Koenig is the manager of this and other web sites, an author, video producer, database designer, and volunteer.