Reader letter

Did your mother ever tell you to play nice?

Can you picture the city park sandbox? You and your friend are playing innocently. Suddenly, it becomes crystal-clear that you were the only child with the skill, vision, and aptitude to run any of the toys properly. You wanted, you needed, you DESERVED all the toys, and contemptuously pushed your playmate down as you attempted to take them. Maybe you didn’t need ALL of them, but by God, that sandbox nemesis of yours definitively wasn’t deserving of them. If your opponent got any of them, the outcome is inevitable; you would shortly be kicked out of the park, banned from the toy department, and forced to eat spinach and liver in the corner for rest of your life.

Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, newspapers, magazines, blogs, podcasts. It isn’t news anymore. So many people have chosen a position, and now are rigidly entrenched within that position. We are 100% correct in every choice, every belief we have. You are ignorant (at best), uninformed, cruel, and obviously incapable of making a wise choice. Those you follow are criminals and psychopaths; those we follow are the enlightened chosen ones. Your opinions and beliefs are beyond contempt and ridicule. Ours make perfect sense.

How did we get where we are? The terms cooperation, compromise, partnership and bipartisan have evaporated under the sizzling intensity of choosing a side, being on THAT team. How did we get to the point where the ONLY acceptable solution and resolution on any, every issue is a complete and utterly crushing victory? 100%. Anything less is not only unacceptable, but viewed as a loss, as being weak, as caving. WHAT?

Do you know of anyone that appreciates being forced into agendas and laws that go against their deepest-held beliefs while simultaneously being ridiculed for those same beliefs? Decisions that mandate them to unconditionally accept policy they are vehemently against? I am talking about soul-level core beliefs. Is it so difficult to see why that may create angst? Unfortunately, that seems to be a rhetorical question, as we are all so apoplectic with anything that isn’t on our banners.

And how is it even possible to believe that every individual who professes any allegiance becomes the epitome of evil, that we know beyond any doubt that every single one of them are (fill in your oath of choice). I simply was not aware they made brushes of such magnitude as to paint such broad strokes.

I can’t remember the last time I saw anything talking about our faults, where our positions might be weak, how we understand how they might feel about this topic. From our elected politicians, to our sports and Hollywood demi-gods, to our friends and family, there is so little compassion, so little effort to understand, and so much blame.

It is far beyond frustrating and demoralizing. It’s numbing, it’s a cancerous gossamer of hate, fear, cowardice and pride that we are all wearing by choice, as a badge of honor, a shawl of distinction, and it is eviscerating the soul of our neighborhoods, our cities, and our country.

My request is this: Before we demand every last toy, before we righteously erect barricades around the sandbox, let’s take a deep, slow, soul-searching look at the entire park. At the Americans, the mothers and fathers and children and siblings. Just maybe, it’s OK if they get to keep their shovels and pails. Maybe if we ask them, their intentions aren’t as sinister and nefarious as all the “wise ones” are proselytizing. MAYBE some of their plans are even better than ours. Maybe the sandbox really is big enough for all of us.

Todd Anderson, Litchfield