Saturday, June 1, 2019

Musings from the Sidelines

I’m not certain of the origin of this quote:

Love those who seek the truth; beware of those who find it.

I can tell you that the Revered Paige Getty used it in a service I recently attended at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia. The theme of the service was Curiosity. 

This quote  has been echoing in my head over the last month as I have witnessed a variety of controversies unfolding in Howard County. I find myself reluctant to align myself with anyone who “has all the answers”. So much seems to be invested in picking one’s team and promoting it at all costs. And a part of that includes bashing the other side and impugning its motives. 

Perhaps it is a personal weakness, but I find myself unwilling to take up the talking points of one side and wade in. My apologies. I know many smart and dedicated people who are highly invested in issues such as:
  • Old Ellicott City
  • Land use/development/APFO etc
  • County budgets
  • HCPSS budgets
I listen, and I read, and I follow the news. I guess you could say I’m still seeking the truth. I certainly haven’t found it. I am certain that the two things that repel me the most are smugness and nastiness. Even if those who are speaking are the kind of people I’d normally agree with, I find those attitudes questionable, if not downright suspect.

Of course some of the greater truths are that good people, no matter how well-meaning, can be wrong. And it is also possible to be right on the issue but so arrogant and unpleasant that one’s point of view becomes similarly unpalatable.

It’s also true that looking at a problem through a very narrow lens is bound to produce a limited view. So much of what is going on right now could be explained by the well-known saying:

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

On some issues I am of no use to people who have already found the truth. I feel rather like the poor, beleaguered representative from New York in the musical “1776” who finds himself in the awkward position of being forced to “abstain, courteously.”

If anything, I believe that there are far more good people out there trying to do their best than there are bad actors trying to do wrong. Perhaps it is namby-pamby of me but I wish that we could pause, every so often, to remember this.

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