I watched the President's speech last night. I am interested in what he has to say. I am interested in the reactions of those in Congress. I am curious as to whether the two parties will be able to come together for the good of the nation. The divide lately seems as big as the Grand Canyon.
But that's not what I wanted to write about. I am writing about the elected official from this state who shouted out, "You lie" after a remark by the President. It appears that Rep. Joe Wilson shouted this out in an emotional moment. He has since apologized for his outburst.
I guess everyone who is in politics has to develop tough skin. Things can't be taken personally. And I've found over the course of being in a career that can have its controversial moments, the natural reaction is to react when something is said that goes against core beliefs. And in dealing with alcoholism, I've found that reaction was how I lived every day. I often felt misinterpreted, misunderstood, and reacted because I felt the need to take a defensive posture. That is how it used to be and for many still is the primary reaction.
So I thought about Rep. Wilson's inappropriate and rude reaction. He obviously feels passionate about the health care issue. But I am reminded of what we say in Al-Anon which is to "say what you mean, mean what you say, but don't say it mean."
Often I've used the wrong words in the heat of the moment. I haven't really said what I meant at all. I wish that I could take back those words that came out of my mouth. I clearly needed to learn to mean what I say.
I have learned to reflect on the intent of what I say. I like the idea of believing in what I am saying enough so that the true message will be clear. If I don't really believe in what I'm saying at the moment and I'm just caught up in some drama, then I need to hold my tongue. The right moment will come in time. I'm sure that Mr. Wilson is reflecting on the idea of restraint of tongue (and pen) today.
And finally there's the key which is to not say something mean. I have looked back after an outburst and wished that I could take back the words that were said. Now I can THINK about what I'm going to say and not bypass reason in order to deliver a knock out punch with words.
So yes, I can be passionate in my beliefs, and yet I don't have to personally attack anyone, even if there are major differences. I have found a much more effective way to communicate. And maybe the other person will see my side of things or even admit that there is more than one viewpoint, if I am clear in what I say, reflect on what I am about to say, and say it without vengeance or rancor. I think that offers more in the way of reconciling differences.
"The man we feel most self-righteous toward may be the man we could learn the most from. When we stop focusing on him, we may notice he touches our most sensitive area. We're all creatures of God and equals in God's sight. The ways we create inequality are the ways we fall short of God's wisdom." Thought for the Day