Thursday, May 25, 2017

We don't know our left from our right.

I got my first real lesson on what being out of step means when I in was in Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, in San Antonio Texas. It was so obvious, a cave catfish could see it. I had many lessons prior to this, but marching drove home the point and further on, I'll explain.

When I am warming up a spin class I like to say. "Right arm out!' and then demonstrate it. I hold out my left arm and pull it across my chest and take my right hand and place it behind my elbow and stretch my arm. After ten seconds, I say, "Now your other right arm!" and perform the opposite exercise. The reason I do the opposite is I am facing them and I am a mirror image of what I want. The reason I say "the other right arm" is because no matter which arm you tell people, some of them will do the wrong arm.

One of my brothers would always take a turn to the opposite direction when we were driving someplace as a group. Because of this, we learned to point where he should turn, rather than speak "take a right at the next street." The reason for this is he is ambidextrous and right and left made less sense to him than most other people. When we played sandlot baseball, he was always the one that got the right-hand mitt if there was a spare glove and he throws and catches just as well with either hand.

Have you ever stopped and asked for directions and this well-intentioned person is the last individual on earth you should have queried?  "Yea, go down yonder and take three rights, a left after the curve, then two lefts, and blah, blah blah?"  Marco Polo would have become lost after listening to that fellow.

In BMT - Basic Military Training, we marched and marched and then we marched. When everyone was in step, magic took place. We moved as a unit and with each sharp step you heard the heel of one giant combat boot strike the ground with a precision you learned to love. It is music and the view is harmonious, as each head in front of you sways to the left and right until... What in tha?

Your head is going the opposite way of everyone else's? Is this a good thing under these circumstances? I would think not and I understand the various arguments about being your own person and sticking to what you believe is right, but sometimes, walking in agreement is the simple and best answer.

As a country, we have lost sight of this philosophy. Remember the old adage, united we stand, divided we fall? How about a biblical reference of, "... if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand"? We have went so far to the right or left that people are sticking their fingers in their ears and yelling, "La la la la!" rather than trying to find common ground. Geeze, folks, isn't common ground life, liberty, and the right to choose which App you load to your smartphone?
Is there anything we can agree on anymore without fighting, shooting the finger, and yelling the F word? People have become so passionate that they've forgotten that true happiness and peace comes from the simple things like a soft conversation with the one you love, or a sunset, or sitting around a campfire and adding a new log.

As a nation representing freedom, we have become a concern to our neighboring countries who fear we are ripping ourselves apart and I am with them on this. When a person is afraid to publicly admit who they voted for because they think someone will become violent, we have lost something as a nation. Sure, fisticuffs have went on for decades, but then again, you didn't get ran over by a car after they followed you for four miles either.

Lee College's professor Susan Cummings and I have debated social issues and politics for about 15 years and rarely have we agreed on anything, but you know what?  I like the lady and on many other issues we have chatted like old buddies.  Years ago, she made the statement that we have agreed to disagree and it is the truth. I would rush across the street to help her out of a bind if she needed me and this is how things are supposed to work in this country. We as a nation have lost more than we have gained by bickering and trash-talking each other and it is reaching a very destructive point where we will have to decide if we can actually walk in step or divide.

Debating has turned an ugly course where a brick in hand is needed as punctuation. In my mind, Ted Kaczynski was right in so many ways, but his methods were criminal.  Raise the red flag if you feel like something is wrong and pray for change, but don't become violent and destructive as a means to accomplish your goals. "Then join in hand, brave Americans all— By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!" John Dickinson's "Liberty Song" published 18 July 1768, in the Boston Gazette.


Anonymous said...

Good read Bert. How could anyone disagree. Debi

Anonymous said...

Sure liked your article yesterday. Just got to read it this morning.

Anonymous said...

MM: Brilliant understanding.

Anonymous said...

SC: You are a class act, Bert. ...I'm so happy you wrote that column. You speak for me. We need to reach out to each other 'cause we're all here for a very brief time.

Thank you, Bert.

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