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Good will towards man - at least for a while

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By Mike DiGuiro

As you are reading this, it is a few days from Christmas. In my experience, the Christmas spirit usually brings out the best or worst of us. For most people it is the best. So, maybe we can just for a few days, not consider everyone different from us as evil. Maybe we can refrain from calling them names or disparaging their age, sex, gender, declared gender, color, political party and religion.

Trust me, I’m as bad as anyone at casting dispersions on those I consider the “other.”  However, I also know deep in my heart that the world is not divided into “good people” and “bad people.”

As the Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote, “the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts.”  

There are no “forces of evil,” there are only people. There are plenty of the truly despicable- murderers, rapists, pedophiles, etc.  There are far fewer of the truly pious - because as people we are subject to temptation, greed and ignorance. 

God - in all his forms - employs millions to teach his word. Yet the devil has not a single paid disciple.  Because the devil doesn’t need to pay anyone - he has the entire human race promoting his agenda. 

We all have our own morality. We each decide for ourselves what is right and wrong. And our choices vary based on our individual circumstances, and between our private lives and our work lives.  We might round off the corners of our work ethics to finance our rigid private morality.  Or maybe we rationalize that the private indiscretions so much in the news nowadays are our due for occupational success. 

I am as guilty as anyone of dismissing those with whom I disagree as - pick an adjective, I’ve used most of them. And I’m sure I’ll use them in the future. But just for a while in this Christmas season, I’m going to try and be nice. I’ll say Merry Christmas - and not be offended if someone says Happy Holidays. If I know a person is Jewish, I will wish them a Happy Hanukkah. If I know they are Muslim, I’ll wish them a joyous holiday season.  All without imagining that doing so is a threat to my vision of Christmas. 

If we can all just for the next couple of weeks try to envision folks with whom we disagree - about anything - as people with their own problems, hopes and dreams rather than as “the other side.”

The fact is that most of us know people who differ from us to whom we are cordial in person. How about for a while we not bad mouth these same people to our friends of common political or moral position. 

It’s pretty easy to hate large groups of people who you believe are threatening your beliefs. It’s much harder to hate someone you know because of their politics. Since we huddle with people of like minds; as the song goes we “seldom hear a discouraging word.” And we seldom seek out an alternate idea. 

Anyone who reads the Courier Journal’s editorial page is familiar with Richard Dawahare and Siddique Malik. Richard is as wacky a liberal as you will find in the environs of Kentucky.  Siddique is the Muslim (a very moderate Muslim) that frequently tries to let us know how Muslims fit into Christian societies. Richard and Sid are my friends. In fact, as you read this today, I will have had dinner with them both last night.

If this old, fat, white, Republican man from Oldham County can from time to time enjoy cordial discussions with these two “others,” then we all ought to be able to set aside our differences for a while and just enjoy our blessings.

I know I won’t convince some of our neighbors. They are all over Facebook and Twitter, and at monthly meetings, denouncing those with whom they disagree; thumping their chests as they revel in their like mindedness, in their “correctness.” Those folks won’t change, not even for a few days during the holidays.  They assume anyone capable of thoughts independent of theirs, can’t be “with them” and therefore must be “against them.”

I’m not suggesting anyone give up their principles. I’m just asking that as a community we overlook our differences and enjoy our common, human principles. Who knows, maybe a few days could stretch to a few weeks. At least until the election season is upon us.

 

 

 

 

Mike DiGiuro may be reached at oruigid@gmail.com