I am not sure—a hint of thought but not mandating for guarantee, let alone certitude—how to relate to those for whom I consider prompt my “being aghast” an understatement. I’m thinking particularly this morning about those politicians whose purpose, no, more definite make that intent and resolution, is to tell us how unqualified the opponent is. And what they have done that passes into the realm of unconscionable. And in the mix of vitriol pay no attention to the agony the opponent’s personal circumstance is. Senator Cruz? Why don’t you try a mile or two walking in President Carter’s or Vice-President Biden’s shoes?
It is to the quarrel of relating with those for whom stupidity would be a dodge to unmitigated thought and action toward destruction I now launch. Actually it’s a real-life circumstance whose meaning is like ripples in a pond following the splashing rock…or maybe a pebble. They both cause waves of response. From a new read, “The Emotional Intelligence of Jesus,” by Roy Oswald and Arland Jacobson. The prologue numbed the mind…something I experienced initially. Here goes:
“During the early days of the second American invasion of Iraq, a group of soldiers set out for a local mosque to contact the town’s chief cleric. Their goal was to ask his help in organizing the distribution of relief supplies. But a mob gathered, fearing the soldiers were coming to arrest their spiritual leader or destroy the mosque, a holy shrine.
Hundreds of devout Muslims surrounded the soldiers, waving their hands in the air and shouting, as they pressed in toward the heavily armed platoon. The commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Hughes, thought fast.
Picking up a loudspeaker, he told his soldiers to ‘take a knee.’ Next he ordered them to point their rifles toward the ground. Then his order was: ‘smile.’
At that, the crowd’s mood morphed. A few people were still yelling, but most were now smiling in return. A few patted the soldiers on the back as Hughes ordered them to walk slowly away, backward, still smiling.” [Prologue, page xiii]
Another book now finished but still reflecting and wrestling with its essence, “The Righteous Mind” by Jonathan Haidt, says that our response to any comment or experience is first…an intuitive read of what has just happened and who’s involved. He says further that to respond on intuition alone…which means the start and finish is our emotions…lacks value. Haidt believes we should bring the rationale into the fray, to think through. Hoping there’s time for that. And with that: as if Haidt’s gun is toward the ground, kneeling with a smile, each person has a certain social morality, whether it’s seeing if harm might happen or fairness is absent, that should not be either ignored or rejected.
That’s deep stuff. But it’s given me some time to put feelings and thoughts…and I’m finding, at least consciously that every day now I consider my feelings and my reason to give me deeper intelligence.
Which means I shouldn’t spit out any thought that political people not even close to the aisle between us, should be thrown out. Why? Because I cannot pick up a rock from the stature of full integrity and value. But also because there may be something…that I haven’t regarded before…that the foe—at least emotionally…is no less a child of God. I cannot rule that out. And maybe…just maybe…they bring something of value that I have never regarded before.
So. On this day, may it be that we regard the circumstance of others…that is no less important than their stupid statements…or at least statements that do not regard the struggle and painful happenstance of others.
Okay. A little preachy. But hopefully it’s a start for each of us to not vanquish the smile even though the circumstance wants us to…
Please think and feel it through…ever link the feelings and the thought…and who knows, maybe the IQ of emotional intelligence will start to rise.