Author: Compton, Cliff


The electionís over. Not just the CBA board elections (though that was a nail biter). The right people won that one. But the BIG oneÖ.whether the right one or the wrong one won depends, I guess, on which side of the aisle you stand on. Now when it comes to politics and religion, discretion is often the better part of valor. A wise man might just choose to avoid these subjects like the plague. However fools rush in where wise men fear to treadÖ.O.K. here I go.

Thereís been some ugly pictures running across the television. And some ugly voices screaming in the airways. Foxes running through the barleycorn with their tails on fire. Cable news networks pontificating with spittle running out of their mouths. Commercials charging candidates with everything from witchcraft to child molesting.

With the end of the conflict comes an uneasy peace. A lot of unspoken anger. A bit of self righteous celebration. The winners counting their spoils. The losers licking their wounds, looking for someplace to assign blame.

This is a polarized nation we live in. People shouting loud and not listening much. And Iím thinking to myselfÖThere ought to be a better way.

Well, I ainít sure what it is, but I am sure what it ainít.

Thereís this thing called civility and respect. Seeking first to understand, and then to be understood. Whatever your political persuasion or your world view, youíve probably come by it for good reason. Youíve probably spent a lifetime developing it, and you may eventually come to a time in your life when that world view is set in concrete. And it ainít gonna change. That same thing may hold true for that person across the street that has the campaign poster for a candidate you cannot stand gracing his front yard.

I suppose we could call him names whenever he comes out of his house. Thow tomatoe at his car. Insult his children. Chase his cat. but, that might not improve the quality of life on your cul de sac. We gotta live with each other, brothers and sisters.

I was at the Kate Wolf festival outside of Laytonville a few years back, and there was this fellow there who called himself Brino the Clown, and he was part of an organization called world clowns for peace. He got a few minutes on stage, and sang a song that offended me no end, running roughshod over much of what I held close to my heart. After he was done I took him aside and asked him what he was trying to accomplish in his time on stage. He had nobles goals. A kind heart. I liked him. I still do. But I asked him how he expected to win others to his point of view by insulting, disrespecting, and mocking those he wished to convert.

It donít matter what side of the aisle you are on. That probably wonít motivate you to change positions.

I think most people are trying to do what is right. Trying to live in a way that allows them to sleep at night. Hoping, somehow, to make the world a better place.

But when we are screaming and shouting and disrespecting those who disagree with us, we arenít making the world a better placeÖweíre tearing it down.

At that same Kate Wolf festival. I heard Norton Buffalo speak passionately about a war that was going on at the time. His point of view was in direct opposition to my own, but his tone was respectful and his heart was not ugly. I listened to him and have considered his words from that day to this. He had more affect on my world view than a thousand screaming radio voices or disparaging television ads.

I love the members of this bluegrass community. I donít care what your political persuasion or your religion or lack of same, is. We come from every background. From dirt farmers to acadamia. From the far left to the far right.

But when you are playing music with someone, and your heart is in sync with them, it donít matter what road they are walking on. At that moment none of those other things matter.

I figure thatís a pretty good way to be.

Posted:  11/12/2010

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