The age of drama, pseudo-reality

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I read Pastor Epps’ column, “Drama Addiction” [The Citizen, Feb. 4,2017] and thought, “Wow, he came to the same conclusion as I did about living in drama.”

I had written a column a couple of weeks ago on the topic, but did not submit it. I don’t recall why. But maybe it is intended to piggy-back on Pastor Epps’ column as a reiteration and/or confirmation to us all. God knows we are living in contentious times. So here it is.

I do not consider the anti-Trump protest march being held around the country a women’s march because of the simple fact they do not reflect what the majority of women believe.

I personally know some women who agree with maybe one or two positions of the protest sponsors, but the rhetoric and positions of some of the prominent speakers were vulgar, hate-filled rants that truly embarrassed me as a woman.

I know that there are those who are truly passionate and filled will negative emotions about President Trump, I get that. The anti-Trump sentiment was the only unifying element of this group — not gender.

It was the ultimate irony as I watched the sheer hatred in people’s eyes, the impassioned speeches and rants, the violence perpetrated against property and Trump supporters, and then see the trite slogan, “Love trumps hate.” I did not see or recognize love being expressed anywhere.

I had to take a step back and think, where in the world is this coming from. Men and women marched and some brought their children, exposing them to the vilest of visuals and the most vitriolic of language. I thought, “This is not OK, something is terribly wrong here, this is no mere protest.”

As a mother, I was shocked, and thought, “Where is your decency, Madonna and Ashley Judd?” One does not extinguish the flames of hatred, bigotry, and violence by modeling hatred, bigotry and violence.

It is easy to be loving when you are among those who love and agree with you in all things. It is quite another thing, however, to do as Jesus commanded, “love your enemies.” (Note: I am well aware that there are those who would advocate for this love principle, but do not think I should mention Jesus or, “bring religion into this.” To this, my response is that I am simply citing the source of this principle, but I may deal with that topic in a future column.)

Indeed, in society, and social media, in particular, sensationalism is what gets noticed. Thus, disagreements are causes for attacks. Those who have differing, or opposing points of view are now enemies to be destroyed. The mere idea of treating detractors with respect or decency seem to have become so “outdated.”

And this can seep into our homes, for my husband and I have had to remind each other that when we disagree, it should never mean that we are attacking each other. We are on the same team. Likewise, wouldn’t it be wise if citizens who disagree, even vehemently, remember that they are from the same country, and at least treat each other with respect?

So, to the marchers and those who have intense feelings about the current administration, here’s my advice:

1. Breathe and know that anything we see on television or the internet should be taken with a grain of salt — it’s designed to capture our attention and create intense emotions and often divisions.

2. Do not presume malicious motivations to those with whom you disagree because this dehumanizes them in your eye and often inhibits you from really hearing them.

3. Make is room for disagreements and differing perspectives by being civil to those with whom you disagree.

4. Finally, remember, whether online or in person, we are neighbors, and we ought to treat each other as we, ourselves, would want to be treated.

[Bonnie B. Willis is co-founder of The Willis Group, LLC, a Learning, Development, and Life Coaching company here in Fayette County and lives in Fayetteville with her husband and their five children.]