I saw an altercation today. It’s funny but I always liked using that word for the types of conflicts that sprout up out of nowhere. You’re riding along, it’s quiet and all of a sudden, there’s increasingly loud voices shattering the calm of an evening commute.
And the particularly dangerous thing about this type of drama is that it seems to have a life of its own; growing and maturing as, usually, neither involved party is willing to step back, take a moment and think about what they’re doing, where they’re headed.
In today’s world, confrontation is only a touch, verb or adjective away. It’s ever present in all of our lives, beginning as a seemingly innocuous happening. Yet these days what should be an inoffensive and innocent occurrence can turn deadly in a New York minute, “ooo-ooo-oooo”. We’ve seen it on more than one occasion.
We see it even on a global scale; citizens exercising their rights and the next thing you know, it’s an armed revolution with a steadily increasing body count and atrocities on both sides.
Whatever happened to a nonviolent approach to getting what you want? Whatever happened to reason and remaining calm?
Closer to home and on a smaller measure, the dynamic is still the same. Using deliberate nonviolent, diminishing tactics in the face of escalating tension should (ultimately) slow any aggressive action.
When facing someone with a perceived slight, it’s not being “soft” to apologize to that person. Remember your golden rule and always treat others the way you’d like to be treated. And always keep in mind that their perception of how you’ve treated them is their reality.
On the opposite end, don’t wear your heart on your sleeve or a chip on your shoulder. And don’t go looking for trouble either. If someone is playing their music too loud, first appreciate their right to do so and then, move on. Likewise if asked to turn your music down, again recognize that’s it’s not being a wimp or coward to comply but rather simply you’re just a decent person dutifully responding to the not unreasonable request of another human being.
Now less some of you think that because I used references to the Jordan Davis murder trial that I’m talking solely to black people. I’m not; I’m talking to my white brothers and sisters as well as my Hispanic, Asian, Arab and any other demographic out there that I’ve neglected to list.
Bottom line: put your gorilla suit on when necessary; just don’t wear it all the time, it’s hard to maintain.
Nonviolence, respect and tolerance should be more than just buzzwords for a hip and clever society. Over the years, they were active tools used both on the world stage and closer to home, the benefits of their utility present still today. Let’s include them in our toolbox for this new millennium and see what we can build together.