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Thread: Sharing Crayons

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    Sharing Crayons

    So, remember back long ago, during the days you sat in a tinny little wooden desk, scribbling in your coloring books. There used to be a kid who sat next to you – we’ll call him Johnny. You see, Johnny was one of those kids who didn’t really like to talk much, and never wanted to share, but was never really afraid to take it all, either. In fact, did didn’t even want to hand you a crayon when your own tragically happened to break in your hands.

    Welcome back to kindergarten.

    We peer back hesitantly to those days when all we had to worry about was sweet sunshine and what mum packed for us in our Superman lunchboxes. Yet, in what seems to have been such trivial and carefree years, we learned about several, basic human principles, lessons such as how to come to compromise. “Look at him in the eye.” Our teachers used to say. “Shake his hand and apologize.”

    You see, they weren’t just teaching us what a handshake was. Not at all, in fact, they were teaching us what it symbolized - to prepare us for the bigger world out there, in the outer reaches of a society we could only dream of joining some day.

    Alas, here, today, I find myself standing in that very society they prepared us for.

    But as I look around, I see those profoundly simple lessons dissolving, being eaten away. Losing its place in our society. Concepts such as compromise, shaking hands with sincerity, are becoming cryptic messages, no longer a truth we adhere to in life. And the further you look around, you can clearly see, that quite a few of us still refuse to share our crayons with one another.

    The people who scribbled in the reds and blues into the world we know today, faced some certainly colorful challenges – the obstacles, of overcoming the clash of different ideals, societies, cultures. Through both war and peace, great leaders of men learned to sit with one another and to discuss a solution on how to end the suffering that plagued their very own world. They proved that hot conflicts sparked by strife could be doused by the cool power of mutual compromise and reason. And only through this truth, were the greatest of dilemmas solved in the most satisfying of ways.

    Let me say this here. Compromise – is not for the men who seek a win lose relationship – for those who look to exploit the weak and capitalize on the poor. It is not a symbol of surrender, and nor does it imply that one is more right than the other. Instead, understand that compromise embodies the willingness of men to come together to create something that they could not create alone. This very spirit of compromise, ladies and gentlemen, cannot exist in a world where people simply seek to win, and nothing less. Yet, while perhaps indeed our world is far from that picture perfect, model city on a hill our ancestors dreamed of creating for us, it is not out of our reach as human beings to establish a middle ground – to come together not to bicker like children, but to discuss the matters at hand with both maturity and objectivity. And although today this line is blurred beyond recognition, we, as a developed society, must learn to redraw this line distinctly in the ground where we can all observe it as a regular part of our daily lives.

    This past July, our President delivered a somewhat controversial, televised address to the American people, about how it was imperative that Congress come together in order to agree on a way to raise America’s crumbling debt ceiling. During said speech, he noted, that the word ‘compromise’ has developed into a dirty word in Washington, an in order to move forward as a country, we must bring ourselves to forget about the petty politics and instead put the interests of the nation, as a whole, beforehand. Obama realized that while people may despise cooperation, doing so yields greater long term benefits, stating that a “good compromise … is like a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it.” But much to his very dismay, Washington simply cannot seem to decide on what is truly great music.

    Let’s face it. Our government today is quite often portrayed as a notorious place, where the state of discussion lies in a perpetual, aggravating stalemate, with compromise rarely being sought for until desperation demands it. Rarely, in fact, do we take things under the same nod. All we do seem to see, however, are instead angry children fighting over the crayons again. Hold the green crayons at all costs! – they say. They’ll never touch them as long as I live!

    Here’s a great question my friends brother asked at the dinner table a while ago – “What do politicians do?”

    “Well you see, son.” he father began. “They make laws, decide what we do as a country. They lead our country, and they do what is best for our nation.”

    Now I’ll be honest with you – I simply don’t see this anymore.

    Because, you see - what one believes will be his or her truth. Can you see the reality in that statement? Whether you were fighting for abolition or for universal rights, you were willing to hold on, so dear, to that the very mast that held up your so called principles, that you would see yourself through death, aboard a sinking ship, just to prove your point.

    Time better spent on constructing the better of opinions is instead spent on arguing on why their argument is right, and why the other is wrong. While, yes indeed politicians defend their actions by stating that they truly know that what they believe is the best for the nation, they must recognize that we cannot be a progressive one as a whole when compromise is an unacceptable option. Instead of attempting to understand the pros and cons of a situation, and observing both sides of the argument, politicians tend to create two sided wars that are rarely won but instead pushed over by the slightest voting margin, out of raw necessity.

    You may say today, “What in the world, do we know about compromise?” Human nature itself, encourages us to establish dominance, to relish the competition. We often fight for things we forget about in days, and fight over things that mean nothing to us in a year. Think about the last argument you had with your coworker, your spouse. Compromise was surely an answer, yet it seems frustration often licks so high in our eyes that we simply cannot see the easy way out. Is it in our nature to want this struggle? Surely not. But it seems that compromise isn’t what we think about when the first words jump out of our mouth, before that ugly monster of uncontrollable emotion gets the better of us.

    But this brings us all back to kindergarten. In fact, I’m pretty sure – I was one of those Johnnys back in grade school.

    But we were all one of those kids one time or another, weren’t we?

    In fact, time and time again, we’re shown that we’re still the same kids we were ten, twenty, thirty years ago.

    Granted, we cannot expect compromise to solve our world’s problems in one sweeping blow. We cannot ever attain a perfect society, as history has revealed time and time again. Topics like abortion or evolution are constant reminders of two sides adamantly refusing that the other even possesses a valid argument. In fact, they exist simply to prove their opponent is wrong – to take everything thrown at them and throw it right back.

    How can we possibly come to compromise - when all we can acknowledge is that one side will always be wrong, the other always right?

    Today, we no longer come together for the handshake, but come together for the scuffles. We, ladies and gentlemen, are stuck in the perpetual child’s game of “He Hit Me First.” Some point out this is human nature.

    But the ability to choose, and to reason, that is what makes us human as well, is it not?

    So I would like all of you to keep in mind, that while we have the ability to start wars, make the choice to throw shoes at foreign dignitaries, we are also always offered the chance to come to compromise. We have the choice to think it through just one more step – to take that leap, and step up to do what the other man refuses to. We hold in our hands, the ability to realize the benefits of coming together, rather than doing it alone. But until we realize we do so, we can never apologize, never right the wrongs, never move on, until times of desperation require us to do so.

    Let us no longer wait for that moment, for compromise is always ready to be taken by those who embrace it. And maybe, if we could choose to share those crayons some day, it would make all the difference.
    Nun, Volk, steh' auf, und Sturm, brich' los!


    ..:: ( Comtesse ) ::..



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