The Road is all the Rage

I’m not sure what the founding fathers would’ve thought about some of our modern problems. I’m confident, however, they would find much of it tragic.

Many of us have probably already heard the agonizing story of a 4-year old little girl who got hit by a stray bullet fired into her car. I have a 3-year old daughter myself, and the story just breaks my heart to pieces.

My chief concern, however, is that the father, Alan Garcia, somehow won’t own up to his own culpability in the crime, and that the family will be forced to live the rest of their lives with at least a partial rationalization blaming it all on someone else.

Now, no amount of ugliness deserves or should warrant the taking of a life–we do, after all, have the freedom to express ourselves as we choose and shouldn’t have to reckon with potentially losing our lives or the lives of our loved ones in retaliation.

But lest we forget–or get caught up in the one-sided representation being promulgated in the news–the father had a substantial hand in his own daughters downfall. How?

From all reports, he “gestured” at the killer–a euphemism for any number of crude messages people convey with their hands–with extremely ugly meanings. Then he “swore at him,” or in other accounts, they “exchanged words.” Here again, ugliness perpetuates the rage–on both sides.

In a final effort to be unkind, all because he felt slighted at the driver’s original inconsiderate act, he “tried to run” him off the road, and was “driving crazy.” And this with his own innocent family in the car.

Now, I want to reiterate that there is absolutely no justification (obviously) for firing shots blindly into another vehicle. And it’s clear that this father didn’t know who he was dealing with. For if he had, he would have known not to pursue the ugliness he was feeling. And he would have kept his family safe instead.

This is because the shooter had an aggressive, violent streak and had been found more than once on the wrong side of the law in similar circumstances.

But is this altogether the point of the story? Are we supposed to know about the background of any person we become angry with, before we act? Or should we “just let it go,” as one deputy indicated in the aftermath?

Those in the colonial age knew of and tried to practice a concept known as “Public Virtue.” It’s centers around the idea of being kind to those around us–somewhat akin to the golden rule.

If we were to return to this principle, we’d have fewer people calling one another ‘fools’, idiots’ or ‘jerks’. We’d have more people saying, “My bad,” and less expressing benighted thoughts born of malice.

I know it’s not always easy. Yesterday I was graciously allowed in line at a McDonald’s drive-thru. I thought it was so kind; I had been more than willing to wait my turn. Then someone got out of their car and walked toward mine with angry words for me. I found myself yelling back, not out of anger (at first), but just to explain my own justification over his rising voice.

But in retrospect, I could have let him have his say first. It would have been wiser. Seek first to understand, then to be understood, right?

What I want to say to this poor father is this: “Don’t let your grief and anger overshadow and blind you to your own blameworthy actions. Please don’t do this, or you chance injuring your remaining family anew. And you won’t be doing your beautiful daughter’s memory any justice.

“There were others in that car who saw and heard what you did–how you acted. Who lived the moment with you. If you hide behind the fact that the murderer was evil, and discard or attempt to hide any evidence of your own wrongdoing, you teach others that it’s OK to be ruthless and vicious to our fellow beings, just as long as you’re less so than they are to you.”

An eye for an eye just isn’t the way to live our lives in this day and age (it never was). And behaving so leaves it too difficult to see the road before us…


Thoughts on the Electability of Non-Politicians: Character Trumps Experience

David Frum, former special assistant to George W. Bush, has decided that Herman Cain can’t be president. And he tells us why in this CNN opinion piece.

Penguin LogicBut I beg to differ…

Oh, he does make some compelling arguments — at least for some people.

But Frum counts on the fact that We the People just won’t take the time, nor do we have the sophistication, to figure out what’s really being communicated. He thinks he can hide it (as do others, including the media) through the foggy logic of modern political argumentation that he employs.

Here’s the gist.

The crux of Frum’s argument is this: Cain hasn’t been in politics, so Cain can’t effectively run government.

Really…? [Continue reading]

On Faith and Politics

Governor Mitt RomneyI don’t care much for the latest attempts to discredit Mitt Romney on the basis of his religious preferences.

From what I know, it wouldn’t have appealed to the founding fathers, either.

In a breaking story appearing at the end of last week on CNN’s Political Ticker, we once again hear that a few evangelical leaders seek to create a litmus test for the Presidency—and that according to one’s faith.

There are several problems with this… [Continue reading]

A Day To Remember

I’m just curious… Who knows what it is about today’s date, September 17th, that makes it special?

Well, we certainly know it doesn’t have anything to do with September 11th. Even though our date follows just a few days after that ignominious incident, nothing of historical significance could have taken place so quickly in response.

If I mention that it’s a date of political significance, does that help any?

Well, it’s too early before the elections to be included in any type of “October surprises.” And while I’m sure there are plenty of historical things that could have happened on this day, it’s not like there was a Pearl Harbor or Bay of Pigs, or even a Battle of the Bulge, in terms of possible big military anniversaries.

Were there any big catastrophes recorded for the date? In point of fact, the event represents much more in the way of hope than in terms of destruction. One participant at the event in question even likened the moment to a “rising sun” of hope—certainly an encouraging and apt description.

Give up yet? [Read the answer]