In so many ways, we live in a world of black and white. There’s right and then there’s wrong. There’s left and then there’s right. There’s liberal and then there’s conservative. It’s become starker than ever in my lifetime. I feel like when I was a kid, even cops could see the gray area. The absolutes were there most certainly, and many of those have changed today, so there’s that. But while we’ve been working on the acceptance of gender issues, sexual orientation and mental health diagnoses, we seem to have lost the ability to meet halfway our adversaries, for that is what we’ve become to each other, over issues of race, poverty, immigration, economics, good and evil, access to healthcare, education, liberty, rights and the law.
And that is a great loss. My generation is guilty of narrowing our minds and possibly taking our children down the same path. But there is hope in our young generation, as we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks among high school students intent on advocating for and pushing change where adults have failed in great part because we seem to be incapable of seeing, discussing or understanding alternate or opposing opinions. We, each of us, are so intent on convincing each other of the ‘rightness’ of our own opinions that we fail to listen – really listen – to our opponents. We fail to learn. We fail to educate ourselves. We fail to move forward, instead settling for the status quo, considering that far better than actually losing any ground. And so, we all lose, most of all our children. As we lose the gray area and we lose real progress, our children appear to be taking the lead, dragging us back to a place of protest, communication, compromise and progress.