Niagara Gazette

Columns

September 11, 2013

BRADBERRY: Paragons of Virtue, or Bastions of Evil?

Niagara Gazette — “Father, father. We don’t need to escalate. You can see, war is not the answer; only love can conquer hate.”

Marvin Gaye

Our youngest relatives and a fresh crop of new politicians were born after that terrible day twelve years ago when what some believe to have been a physical manifestation of an ideological clash between absolute goodness and evil incarnate collided at the World Trade Center, permanently changing our view of the world, of each other, and of ourselves.

As a result of that nightmare, we tend to see the world through a narrower prism than before, as paragons of virtue, or as bastions of evil.

Do we see people, their political philosophies, their religions, cultures, organizations and their behaviors as being either virtuous (good), or evil (bad); is there any room left for patience and tolerance, has compromise become the newest curse word?

That prism is affecting everything we do and don’t do, from international relations to local politics; just look at what’s happening.

As we move toward the election of officials with whom we must entrust the responsibility of intelligently deliberating serious issues and making tough decisions, the consequences of which may reverberate long past their terms of office, people are more than a little skeptical of each other; we’re “taking sides”, drawing hard lines and standing firmly behind them whether or not our positions make a single iota of sense.

The opposing side will spend the entire term of office doing their best to destroy the victor because they are convinced that the winner is not worthy of the office and must therefore be brought down at any cost, even if doing so risks the wellbeing of the community they each profess to seek to serve.

Have we become so dogmatic, so inflexible that we refuse to see or hear anything that the other side has to offer just because whatever they’re proposing must be wrong since it’s their idea, not ours?

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