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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Violence 100 Words for Sunday, 11/18/12


I saw the movie Lincoln last  evening; two venues, four showings today, 2400 people, in the Mesa theater alone. Our local loyal viewers clapped at the ending, proud that we abolished slavery. I hope my neighbors also saw how difficult it was to secure the majority needed to amend the Constitution, how fairness and equality are the mainstays of our democracy and how compromise, even coercion, among people of differing views can accomplish small pieces of a large goal; it took another hundred years for blacks to obtain their civil rights in our country. Now we struggle for LGBT equality!
It is all too human to resist change; even more human to collect in groups with like-minded others to the exclusion of others which we often feel protects "us" even while it demeans "them." We try to substitute sports team allegiance for clan behavior, hopefully stopping short of the violence that has been known to erupt in soccer match playoffs. We identify with the sports team, rooting for them when they win and often demeaning them when they lose. But often sport team alliance is not sufficient; we resort to the tension between groups that flares into violence and threatens to involve more and more groups who identify and align with one side or the other.
We pick sides, deciding who we feel is the aggressor and who the underdog, but much like sibling squables in which the parent does not recognize that it is often the sweet girl or the younger sibling who instiogates the quarrel, many parents blame the older or the stronger or the one whom the parent perceives  as smarter, ignoring the facts of the quarrel. Most times, home based arguments end with both children being quarantined for a time in separate spaces until the tension subsides and either the children work out a solution or the parents exert their authority to resolve the dispute.
Bullying is to be fought against, self-defense is to be encouraged, resorting to violence is the worst of all methods but if fighting is needed to stop aggression, at least let the participants work out a cease-fire and talk out their issues without senseless escalation which can happen when parents choose sides between their children, when schools and ever larger forces of authority involve themselves in the quarrel which grows to a battle and to a war.

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