08 November 2014


One of the few educational highlights of my high school waste of time experience was my junior year English class taught by Mr. Miller. I'd always been a reader but he took literature to a whole new level, opening my world and it led me to my decision to be an English major in college. This unfortunate choice, like nearly all other English majors led me to a career that has absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, to do with my major. But my love of the written word remains firmly intact.

One of the stories we read all those many years ago was Shirley Jackson's 'The Lottery.' If you haven't read it, you should. Now. Although there are a host of interpretations of this powerful short story, I'm in the author's camp on its commentary on "pointless violence and general inhumanity" in society. Note that this story was first published in 1948. Its commentary is as timely today as it was nearly 70 years ago in an era that seems so far removed from ours.

I've been giving "The Lottery" some thought this week as I've watched a stream of invective spew through my Facebook and Twitter feeds and on what little television I've stomached. It was Election Day earlier this week in the United States and the political rhetoric got ramped up to 11 again. The polarization in our nation has become untenable and it manifested itself in the aforementioned feeds. So I had to get bulimic on those feeds and purge away. Ironically, there was an article earlier in the week claiming that liberals are more likely to 'defriend' someone who disagrees with their political bent than those on the right. I can honestly say it was not the beliefs that caused me to purge. It was the level of vitriol and negativity that did it. So if that makes me a bleeding heart liberal (and in my faith, given that I'm fairly centrist as opposed to right-wing that pretty much makes me a raging leftist), so be it. The bottom line is that I'm done with the vitriol.

I realize that I've been guilty of those same behaviors. And for that I am sorry. I guess I'm tired of our inhumanity to one another. What has it gotten us? A whole lot of hate. And that is good for what? Any one?
Is this thing on?

I don't want to be the one holding the stone, ready to cast it. And I don't want to be the one taking a rock in my skull. No good can come from that. So I'm going to control what I can. When I find myself picking up that symbolic stone, I'm going to ask myself what good is going to come from launching that little fusillade? I'm going to continue to embrace the diversity that I have in my life. I love that I have friends from all parts of the world with all sorts of different points of view. I do not agree with all of those points of view. Nor would I want to as that makes life boring. And I don't want a boring life.

It's time to put down the stones.

No comments: