Musings on a Monday. (Okay Wednesday)

Random thoughts about smart cities and the digital evolution of communities — sometimes serious, sometimes nerdy, always inspired by Jack Handey.

Wednesday, September 26

Let’s start with the obvious. It is not Monday, even though this series (loosely defined) is called Musings on a Monday. It’s Wednesday. I was traveling for two days with a conference, a steady stream of meetings and catch up work galore. So this didn’t get written or posted on “time”. Life goes on.

To make up for it, how about some really incredible, super-cool news? I have written permission from THE Jack Handey to use his quotes. So get ready for awesome-ness.

Now to the point.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about agendas — whether they are political or economic — I see so many people allowing themselves to be manipulated in ways that advance someone else’s gain. Whether you lean right or left, everyone is enraged about something. Everyone is “fighting” for something.

It takes so much energy to be angry — always against something. But it’s a very effective tool and so that is where all of the attention is being focused (and subsequently the money is being raised, which is not a coincidence).

We’re using the most expedient tools possible to hurl inflammatory accusations at each other. What’s that you say? “They did it first”. It doesn’t matter. We’re not little kids in the backseat trying to win favor with a parent. Or are we?

If you hear a speech using cherry-picked convenient quips that advocate for one side without looking at the bigger picture (like I just did at a conference) or some awful things posted on social media (like we all see everyday), it can be difficult to see that they are designed to manipulate.

These words and actions rally the base — the people who are vocal and committed. But when you zoom out to the bigger picture, what appears is a small group of really loud people on both sides, and a very silent middle majority who are living their lives, disgusted at how we are handling these complex issues in difficult times.

I would like to see the middle re-engaged through respectful dialogue. That means resisting the urge to use the nastiest, most attention-getting, eyebrow raising headlines as weapons. Instead can we make an effort to pay attention to the people who are for something? This is harder work. It requires being thoughtful and intentional and fair.

And I get it. As Americans we are bred to compete and reward the winners. But perhaps we can leave the us-versus-them mentality on the field, the court or whatever surface supports your sport of choice. Ahhhh, can we just be good to each other, people? All people?

“If you go flying back through time and come across someone flying towards the future, it’s probably best to avoid eye contact.” — Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey