On a less global scale, in this season where families rediscover petty grievances even without a Festivus Pole, the ritual extends from Thanksgiving until New Years when we all resolve to do better, knowing full well that by this time next year, we haven't. Families get fragmented and it doesn't take a war to do that, does it. It takes a war to show families that there's nobody else more important, though. Those that are fragmented without war as the cause still manage to find people they can consider to be family even if it takes several years to find people who can be elevated to that position--and hey: you can pick your nose but you can't pick your relatives.
There is actually a bright side to all this, though, and it's where the worst things make permanent changes for the better for the purpose of making sure this awful crap never happens again if we can help it. The worst among us are inventing tall tales to demonize other people while the reasonable rational people among us just aren't buying it and we're actually talking to other reasonable rational people to deal with the differences for the purpose of pulling the teeth of the insanely radical.
The insane are a minority and they've grabbed power; the sane, who have thusfar kicked back without talking to each other, are getting together for a change and coming to realize that they're the majority, and this is especially true in the Islamic world at the moment. The Paris bombings didn't create the us-them divide that the hawks on both sides of that anticipated divide were hoping for--what it did was unite sane people against the hawks.
So this Christmastide, whether you're talking about the lunacy of those who seek power to wage war or the big spending lunatics running city government proclaiming that a pork barrel bond issue is worth going deeper into debt for so that their pockets may get lined, we have the emergence of the following public policy that is applicable in all these cases:
The presentation by Kyle Dillingham at the Enid First Assembly of God church this year incorporated a statement along these lines, about showing how what's broken can still produce something worthwhile. His latest album incorporates that theme. Here's his musical statement as presented at his annual concert at the church:
It's very important to note that when people who never talked to each other before begin discussions about the best way forward, people who are good listeners are required for the process. Listening is just as important as talking, for the people who take despicable action also want to be heard out. A hostage negotiator's most effective weapons are word usage, and listening. You'll never catch a negotiator of any sort declaring "I don't want to hear it" because that will invariably result in "sending a message" via actions taken rather than in words. You hear war hawks in Washington talk about bombing as a way of "sending a message". As far as a means of communications, violence is the worst form and it can send wrong messages. Just hearing the other party out often produces the best outcomes.
A lot of traffic to my political pages over the holidays. Yes, I know that Judy's been pulled from the schedule, and yes, I know certain people are wondering why I'm not bitching about it. Well hey, folks--2016 is just around the corner and y'all just better stay tuned! There's more where THAT came from!