Love where you live!
LA MESA -- Imagine a world, said someone, in which we all treated one another a little less horribly. Said in all seriousness, it made me think, yes, what if we did. This wasn’t someone wishing we people would never argue or disagree or even point out things we didn’t like about each other. The words put the emphasis on something seemingly pretty simple. “If we all treated each other a little less horribly.” It seems like a fairly easy thing to do. A tragically low bar of expectation, actually. “A little less horribly.” Not more kind. Not courteously. Not respectfully. Just less horribly.
Is it easier to be horrible or "merely" mean in 2014 than it was in, say, 1984? I don’t think being it is any easier. What is easier is inflicting it, sharing the vitriol or anger more quickly and often anonymously. Today we have the impersonal shield of a computer screen or the even smaller screen of a smart phone to hide behind. Add to that the ability to make up a name or borrow one, well then who couldn't be brave and bold when there is no one to face but one’s self. (Of course there's the whole looking at yourself into the mirror thing, but that’s another topic all together.)
I wonder if instead of writing something snarky or mean or insensitive, I wonder if we had to sit at Cosmos or Starbucks or stand in front of La Torta or Por Favor and actually face the person we disagreed with, would that make the little asides and accusations harder to deliver? I think they ought to be harder,because it takes more courage to stand up for what you believe in when you have to look into someone’s face to do it. I hope we have not reached a place in our discourse where we can’t have a reasonable discussion about things we disagree over without mudslinging and name calling and dragging out every minor personal affront that ever occurred.
I've said before that I wish we could find a way to focus on the fact that we all are heading in the same direction: We are all La Mesans. I think it’s even more important as a big election season confronts us that we remember that. We have serious problems facing us, but when we get caught up in personality, in the pettiest of the petty, how will we be able to solve anything? I want to know how the candidates see the future and how they aim to get there. Without trashing their opponent or slyly sending out underlings to do the trashing, I want my candidate to tell me what he or she stands for and to tell me how they want to move the City of La Mesa forward. That’s what I want to know. And I’m pretty sure there are a bunch of people who feel the same.
Imagine a world, or even a city, in which we all treat one another a little less horribly… That's all, just a little less horribly.