“Let there be peace on earth” is a great line from a popular holiday song you probably know by heart. In fact, it’s a theme in lots of holiday songs.
Peace on earth is a great concept. Too bad it’s never going to happen.
There are just too many egotistical political leaders who enjoy lighting fires and then running from the blaze, leaving the rest of us to deal with the fallout.
There are just too many countries with superiority complexes, ours probably included, for peace to take hold everywhere spontaneously. Even when we have the best of intentions, we seem to get in our own way trying to make the world “safe for democracy” while some other world leaders are doing their best to make the world bend to their own often-twisted wills.
Even locally, peace in our time is unlikely.
Some of us won’t accept the fact that every cop isn’t a criminal. Some, rightly or wrongly, see conspiracies lurking at Fair Park, in every real estate development project, in “signature” bridges and in “world-class city” aspirations.
Most of us mouth the idea that we want what’s best for the city and for the country, but then we drill the guy next door on social media for having her/his own thoughts on one matter or another.
Is it really true that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely?
Not having much power, not being a politician and not being overly concerned about what’s happening on the other side of the world, these are all questions I feel confident asking but not so confident answering.
So what about the other part of that “peace on earth” holiday song: “And let it begin with me?”
How can peace on earth begin with us when, for the most part, it takes just a couple of seconds for us to become cranked up about idiot drivers or online baiters?
Well, we have to recognize that everyone on Facebook, everyone with a TV microphone, everyone with a thought we don’t agree with … all deserve to be heard without being shouted down, online or in person. If the only voice we ever hear is our own, reflecting back to us over and over again through our choice of solely like-minded media, we’re going to become intolerant. It’s inevitable.
One thing I’ve learned in this job over the years is that there are lots of people in our neighborhood who think differently than I do. And guess what: They aren’t all crazy, and they aren’t all wrong.
Won’t it make our neighborhood stronger if people are willing to consider the fact that, individually, we don’t always have a corner on wisdom and knowledge?
Yeah, peace on earth isn’t going to happen. But peace on our block should be achievable. And desirable. And necessary.
And just maybe it will radiate out from there.