Vail Daily column: Revolution, not evolution
July 31, 2016
It is the summer of our national discontent, with the rancor echoed in countries across the globe. Political currents roil as the tectonic plates of socioeconomic change grind against each other. Even when accounting for the bias of nostalgia, this moment feels particularly vitriolic and fraught. The import of these times is almost palpable. I have the distinct sense, as do many with whom I have these types of discussions, that we stand on the precipice of watershed events.
Yet despite the dire predictions emanating from both sides of our growing divide, we have an opportunity to escape the pull of the abyss. We can capitalize on today's tumult to alchemize it into something beautiful. This highly charged atmosphere is not the time for incremental change. Conditions are prime for a revolution.
Don't worry FBI, I am not talking about an overthrow of the government or an assault on Wall Street. Those institutions are entrenched and not likely to succumb. The revolution that I posit is an interpersonal one: we must change the way that we treat each other and we must do it now.
Courtesy has reached a nadir. A slow ascent back to respectful behavior is not going to cut it. We have to shoot straight for the zenith in one fell swoop. Speedy revolution is an appropriate counterpart to this swift-paced era. It is also the only way to counter the current trend of devolution. Our micro-level relations are declining at such a rate that mere evolutions in civility are not sufficient to climb the slippery slope. Forget handholds, we need jet packs.
A revolution on the individual level is easier to comprehend and to execute. Treating others as we wish to be treated is a simple guidepost.
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BE KIND TO others
Systemic change of our leviathan political and economic structures is so daunting as to render it functionally impossible. A revolution on the individual level is easier to comprehend and to execute. Treating others as we wish to be treated is a simple guidepost. That can be complex in practical terms, but as an operating principle it is unassailable.
Instead of taking that call when you are in line at the grocery store, consider that you are treating the cashier and your fellow customers rudely. If your neighbor mistakenly runs over one of your rhododendrons, make it easy for her to come to you and apologize. She wants to, but she was afraid because of the insane way in which you initially reacted. Hold doors for people, smile when you pass them on the street, just say "hi!" Do not gossip, do not insult, go out of your way to make people feel welcome, regardless of whether they are from Iowa, Syria or Mars. Listen to the viewpoints of others instead of pushing yours upon them. This is elementary stuff; we need not be saints in order to be good people.
If we are able to quit, in cold turkey fashion, the harangues and harassments that we daily inflict on each other, there is no question in my mind that the macro-level establishments about which we all complain would quickly come into line. In relatively brisk fashion, we were able to make cigarette smoking anathema. Imagine the benefits if we could make being a curmudgeon or a shark similarly something upon which we frown. The way that people, companies, and nations dealt with each other would be radically different. It is a shift in consciousness that can take as little as a nanosecond. Why wait?
TODAY IS THE DAY
The current climate has the potential to destroy us all, spiritually if not literally. With rhetoric ratcheted to a ridiculous level, we place our collective future in peril. Not since the Cold War has the term nuclear holocaust been used so liberally. We should not accept an existence where one half of the world wants the other dead or where one half of a country believes the other to be idiotic, evil or a combination thereof. Today is the day to start with a clean slate. One does not reorganize a closet over a period of months or years; you pick a day and then just do it. There is no reason to treat the essence of our lives any differently.
It would be easy to treat my idealism as being divorced from reality. But we each make our own reality, which in turn creates the reality of our fellow Earth dwellers. If we do not take immediate steps to improve our reality, the anxiety, fear, and hatred that characterizes this point in history will only metastasize and subsume us. I love life too much to let that happen. Consider me on the vanguard of this revolution. Now if only I had some drab olive fatigues, I could look the part.
T.J. Voboril is a partner at Reynolds, Kalamaya & Voboril LLC, a local law firm, and the owner and mediator at Voice Of Reason Dispute Resolution. For more information, contact Voboril at 970-306-6456 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.rkvlaw.com.
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