I saw something today, not entirely unusual, but it made me think (usually a dangerous thing). I was driving on 99 heading towards Sugarland from Katy and I was about 2 miles past 1093. I glanced over towards the traffic on the other side heading towards Katy and I saw a Department of Public Safety officer.
Normally this sight inspires concern and worry. I have heard and had experiences with DPS officers in the past confirming their earned reputation for giving out tickets when they pull you over regardless of guilt or innocence. Justified or not, even if it necessitates that they resort to villainy.
But that's a topic for a different story. Today, this officer was changing a tire for a woman who's car was stranded on the dangerous side of two lanes of busy traffic. The officer had positioned his vehicle in such a manner as to create a safe eddy protecting himself, the woman and her car from the busy lanes of traffic passing them by. I was impressed by the manner the woman looked at the officer, with obvious gratitude and noticed she was a well put together woman of color.
This scene is not particularly noteworthy but it was nice to see an officer of the law going out of his way, above and beyond his duty, to help someone. Too often of late the relationship we civilians have had with our officers is so galvanized. Fists in the air to demonstrate support or to extend a middle finger to demonstrate something else. This was just so much more human.
As I stated, this got me thinking about things like the recent Black Lives Matter movement and it's apparent counter movement, Stop The Steal. The difference in people being human and acting humane towards each other and how common it has become for us to act in a completely contrary to humane way.
That led me to wonder about why.
It is my belief that most conflict is the result of people not understanding the others point of view. The commonality of us wondering to ourselves how can they think that?! is a direct result of that misunderstanding. We have arrived at this situation because we have so many versions of reality now.
Do not misunderstand me, I believe there is one reality. But our perceptions of reality are not the same. More so now than ever before we no longer share a common reality .This is largely due to the plethora of alternative media sources we use to get our news and data about our world. It's almost laughable how two news agencies can cover the same story and it seems as if they are talking about entirely different events. One hundred different news agencies can cover the same story and it seems like they are discussing one hundred different events.
The problem with no common narrative is that we all go after the story the way we'd prefer it was told. And we continue to pursue those stories and the news that seems more "right" to us. This leads to yet more news that reinforces the biases we eventually come to not even recognize as bias. Then of course the inevitable corruption of news into outright lies. Which is virtually impossible to detect as a lie because it does not seem any different than half of the alternate truths out there. It seems many of us now prefer the comfortable lie to the uncomfortable truth.
The saddest part of this existence of alternate realities is the ease with which we can dismiss others as crazy or clueless or eventually, hopelessly lost to the truth. Having reached this final conclusion it becomes much easier for us to think of those clueless others as the enemy or even evil. Delusional... sound familiar?
The tragedy is that these differences in our perceived realities can be used to manipulate us into tribal opposing factions.
In our actual reality we have so much more in common than what divides us. But we've landed in this version of ourselves where we are so caught up in our differences we have lost sight of what connects and unites us... until you see a police officer changing a tire for a lady who is obviously grateful.
So I have decided to not hate my fellow humans because I think they are deluded or because they think I am.
I understand that I have more in common with my neighbor than what sets us at odds.
I will keep extending my hand in friendship to those who, while caught up in their emotions, would slap it away.
I will keep loving you my dear friends and family no matter how lost to the truth I feel that you are.
I hope that one day soon we can agree on reality again. But I will wait here for you, regardless of how long that takes because, I sincerely believe, we are better off united than divided.
I have also decided to buy a beer for the next cop I see at a bar or restaurant because your brother in the DPS earned it for you today.