This week, I’m writing blog posts based on people’s submissions to my Facebook page right here. My first one is based on online friend Michael Doyle’s suggested title, “How politeness kills even the pretense of justice.” Let’s go …
The Boston Marathon shouldn’t have ended that way. A moment of celebration turned into a maelstrom of yells, lost appendages, and death. The American public, at once reminded that they too are not immune to the casualties of extreme anger and hate, rallied around the people injured in a way it didn’t know how to more than a decade ago during the World Trade Center implosions. Yet, when the dust had only begun settling, many of my friends acknowledged that, during this time of perpetual war, this doesn’t change the habits of those in “danger zones” like New York City, Washington DC, or Boston. If anything, it’s made us more globalists, tuning into the deadly conflicts happening in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, The Congo, and Thailand.
Yet, in the interest of being polite, I’m not sure if the general American public wanted to hear about war-torn countries, pre- or post-Boston Marathon 2013.
This won’t be my “chickens coming home to roost” moment; rather, I wonder if we can take more proactive steps towards actual peace. Politeness insists that we keep our mouth shut, nursing feelings, and letting time elapse until the next major event. Justice, however, demands that we learn how to heal those wounds, and prevent those from happening. It also means, to the chagrin of warmongers everywhere, we approach others with love for one another.
Justice takes serious reflection, a deep soul-searching, and a hard look at the image we project when it comes to the word “peace.”
Politeness can even hurt us in our personal relationships, too. These days, people love ranting on social media, jumping on high horses, and hoping to get as many likes, retweets, and memes as possible, never truly resolving the original matter, but trying to show a tough exterior in the name of “honesty.” They love claiming independence, judge others readily, and act like the “enemies” they seek to vanquish.
Honesty becomes so diluted that integrity falls by the wayside. Real honesty, and justice, asks us to speak to the truth to heal, not to disband, to build, not to distort histories, to change understandings, not cement positions. Real honesty is hard.
What does it mean to speak truth to power in times like these?
Jose, who prefers we act on peace as often as possible …