It doesn’t take much to make me crazy – particularly when I hear or read something that attempts to make absurd generalizations truisms. You know truisms, those statements that seem to be obviously true or things that we have heard so often that we accept them as truth without consideration for the source, the scientific quality of the claim, or the motivation of the speaker.
We are on the cusp of yet another election year. Doesn’t it seem that every year has become an election year? Just when we rid our media of hate filled political campaign rhetoric plagued with alleged truisms about the other candidate, we enter another round of ugly, despicable claims. Unfortunately, it seems that the more something is said and publicized, the more it becomes true in the minds of the public. Truisms abound…some that are not actually true.
It doesn’t matter on what side of the hypothetical aisle someone leans, there are plenty of not-so-truisms to support their agenda. I guess we believe what we want to believe then find truisms to garner support for our cause.
The problem with so many of our truisms is that they point out the flaws of the other guy, or gal, without making substantial claims based on science, economics, history, compassion and all those things we are supposed to learn during our growing up years. They simply show up again and again and again until we think they are…well…true, even when they are not.
Some ‘truths’ are the result of a sound bite taken out of context to prove how misguided someone is, followed by the process of repeat, repeat, repeat until that person’s media created character takes on a life of its own with very little representation of their actual statement, intent or beliefs. Yet, we find it okay because our agenda is supported and we can claim to be knowledgeable because we have proof in the form of a truism.
What ever happened to coming together and talking about an issue? Why don’t we take the time to meet and know the other person, you know – someone who isn’t like us or part of our club…whatever our club happens to be whether it is a neighborhood, religious affiliation, work setting, baseball team; where we shop, do business, or buy laundry soap; or if we resonate toward the affections of a dog or a cat? Why do we think we understand all we need to know about “the other” simply because of some annoying generalizations that somehow become truisms…truisms that seem to allow us the right to judge anyone and anything that doesn’t agree with us…truisms that divide rather than unify…truisms that are used to justify horrible behaviors…truisms that corrupt our understanding of what it means to be a member of God’s amazing creation…truisms that have nothing to do with loving our neighbor, let alone loving God. Doe Zantamata said it well:
It’s easy to judge. It’s more difficult to understand. Understanding requires compassion, patience, and a willingness to believe that good hearts sometimes choose poor methods. Through judging, we separate. Through understanding we grow.
It’s time for growth.