I remember when I was a kid and it was time to learn how to cross the street so I could get back and forth to school without either of my parents walking or driving me there, my dad's first words were "remember to look both ways, son." And every day from that point—that point where I had earned my "walking to school" freedom—before he'd leave the house to go "serve and protect" the rest of the folks in our city, he'd say, "Billy, look both ways." And I always did. The prospect of being hit by an oncoming car whose driver couldn't see a four foot kid walking out into the middle of the street simply terrified me. Hey, we ALL know it happens.
After I was grown and had a daughter of my own, I did the same thing with her. I took her to the corner up the street, had her watch for the little walking guy in the stoplight as it changed and told her, "Now, look both ways. When it's clear, cross." It worked perfectly because she never was hit by a car. Now she's 34 years old and has a two-year-old and I have a pretty good idea she'll do the same thing.
How about you? Do you remember your parents telling you to always "look both ways?"
In my earlier adult years, I considered myself a duplicate of my own father. I was a staunch conservative type, just like the hardline conservatives who still serve in our nation's congress. The first time I could vote, Gerald Ford. And then Ronald Reagan. And then George Bush the senior. Oh yeah, I couldn't even look left.
As our society began to change, I guess I changed just a little bit with it. Heck, as a registered Republican, I voted for Bill Clinton twice. Hey, he looked like a cool guy, so I gave him a chance. I can say now that I had no idea what the issues of our time were. I was too busy to care.
Then Bush the junior came along and I voted for him twice, but began to consider the issues, albeit, not in any detail. And once again, I never looked left. By the time Obama came along, I truly began to look at the issues facing our country, gave him the benefit of doubt, and once again, as a registered Republican, I gave him my vote. Twice.
In 2016, I ventured back over to the right and stayed with my party. Trump wasn't my ideal choice, by far. Now that's over with and we're all left to carry on and try to get along, and as this evolves, I am beginning to evolve with it; looking "both ways."
I see the left doing everything they can to undermine the man elected by the right because he wasn't their choice for President. OK, I get that. I see the right stonewalling the left every chance they get because they control both houses of Congress and get the votes (exception—healthcare) they need to do it. OK, I get that, too!
But this article isn't written to discuss politics. It's written to bring to mind what many of our parents told us when teaching us how to cross the street so many years ago—to look both ways.
Now, I realize that instruction was meant for simply crossing the street. I also get that! But I have, on my own, taken the saying up another level and have begun applying it to almost everything I say and do.
You see, we've become the most divisive society here in the USA that I can remember seeing in my short 59 years. Yep, 59. Not to sidetrack, but I don't look it, nor do I act it.
DACA, immigration, Russia-this, Russia-that, Black Lives Matter, the budget, tax reform, healthcare, defense, gun control, etc., etc., etc. The list is long of things that divide us. I've taken it upon myself, whether I agree with one side or not, to look at the people on either side of me and say, "OK, cool. I get you. Maybe I don't agree, but I get you," and then I offer my hand out for a quick shake. And since I've been doing this, not a single person has refused my hand.
"Look both ways" doesn't mean "Agree with them" in my small, feeble mind (as some would say). I haven't adopted that in any way. I look to my left and my right, whether I agree or not. I recognize they've the right to their belief or opinion and I shouldn't hate them for it or want to run them over in the street for not looking my way. For that matter, I'm also not sitting on the fence on anything. I'm not stuck there.
There are things on both sides, though, that I agree with. And I'm betting that most of you who read this can say the very same thing. You may refuse to admit it and decide to hate, nonetheless.
But if we all took it upon ourselves to remember that small instruction we were given when learning to cross the street so many years ago and applied it to many of the things we do in our daily lives today, maybe, just maybe, we wouldn't be so violently divided. Maybe I could use a better term for this article. "Agree to disagree." Peacefully.
The beauty of this country we live in is that we are afforded the right to form our own opinions and judgements and nobody can take them away from us. So if we were all to peacefully "agree to disagree" and shake hands before parting, regardless of which side of the street we're on, we could make America Great Again all by ourselves. Right?
All we have to do is...............
"Look Both Ways"