After reading of the events surrounding Donald Trump’s Chicago Rally, I thought of an old story of a guy who wanted to be a locomotive engineer. Accordingly, the lead instructor present the applicant a problem.
“If you had one train coming from one direction at 55 mph, and another train coming from another direction at 45 mph, what would you do?”
Thinking for a minute the applicant responded, “I think I’d call my brother.”
“That’s a really strange answer. Why would you do that?”
“Because my brother has never seen a train wreck before.”
What’s disturbing about Trump’s combative Chicago Rally was all of us saw it coming. Instead of decorum, understanding and forgiveness, it appears many went and got their brother.
Over the past year or so Black Lives Matter, Ammon Bundy, Mizzou Football team, Melissa Click, Mizzou’s Concerned Student 1950, Racial Protesters on many college campuses (Mizzou, Yale, Ithaca College, UCLA, etc), Muslim Protesters, Mexican Immigration Protesters, Syrian Immigration Protesters, Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood Shooter, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and a host others have practiced “in your face” degradation and hatred.
One cannot be certain if there is an actual increase in racial incidents or just an ability to record and post such events in moments. In our age misbehavior can be documented with a cellphone and spread simultaneously via social media. Videotape of protesters using “in your face” tactics only guarantees violence at political rallies will increase.
Both Sanders and Trump have raised the specter of violence. Trump’s campaign began depicting entire categories of overwhelmingly peaceful people as threats. Sanders’ political revolution hints at overthrowing a government of bureaucratic privilege, replacing it with government based on workers’ democracy while maintaining state owned property relations. Political revolutions occur throughout history and many times end in a worse situation than before.
Oh yeah, one fact most revolutionaries neglect – in revolutions, people die. One only needs to look at Ammon Bundy as history’s most recent example. Bundy’s revolutionary plan ended January 26, 2016 on Oregon’s Highway 395, with eight arrested and the death of LaVoy Finicum.
From a Buddhist perspective, our political leaders could use a heavy does of “Right Speech.” Right Speech is the third of the eight path factors in the Noble Eightfold Path. And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech and from idle chatter.
If this country is going to move forward, eventually, we’re going to have to sit in a room with each other—both sides—and find common ground. Our country has problems, which most of us agree upon. Our problems are similar to those of the world around us. But we have to find a way to work them out, together. Civility means learning how to make political change to address the frustrations of the American community.
All of us should be aware of what we say and how we say it. However, it seems we’d rather just get our brother.