Do you remember the time you and your little brother put Bob the Dog in the washing machine? Mom showed up just in time to save him. You two faced the Maternal Inquisition.
The first thing you did was proclaim the other was guilty.
“He started it./Did not./Did too./Not./Too.”
“STOP IT!” she hollered. ” I don’t CARE who started it. You are in this together. Neither of you cared enough about Bob the Dog to stop the other. ”
You were both busted. Mom put on her Face of Job. She looked up in pain as if to say, “Why me, Lord?” (She knew why; she had unprotected sex twice. It was little consolation.)
You were mulish; your brother hung his big, boxy head.
“Tell Bob you’re sorry,” she commanded.
“Sorry,” you whispered to the floor … in the general direction of Bob shivering under a towel.
“Sor-ree,” your brother said, faking regret as only he could do.
You both “helped” clean up, but did a piss-poor job. Mom did most of the work. Then she treated each of you to her Patented Death Stare and the Finger of Doom,
“I will slap each of you into next week if you ever do this again.”
You didn’t understand very much, but the Patented Death Stare turned your blood to ice. The Finger of Doom made you quake in your shoes.
“Now. Both of you, go to your room. Think long and hard how YOU would feel if someone put YOU in the washing machine. No dessert tonight.”
While you were in your rooms, she baked an apple pie, just for Character Education. After dinner, she made you watch while she ate a piece. She licked her lips and smiled with every bite. Oh, that looked so good. Then? She had a second piece. You two were Moral Slow Learners. Some days, her best hope was that you could be cellmates in the penitentiary.
Fast forward to the shooting in Alexandria. Only the shooter pulled the trigger. But Jackasses and Rogue Elephants each claim the other side started this. Why? They both ride the Moral Short Bus, so they blame the other.
The gunman lived in a nation boiling over with public anger. Can you hear your Mom? She doesn’t give a crap about who started it. She wants it to stop.
Our national anger level is so high, we need armed guards on a ball field. A ball field? What’s next? SWAT teams in church? SEAL teams at Girl Scout meetings?
We all need to go to our rooms. Without electronics. We need to stand down from social media for a day. We need to think seriously about what we write on the “world-wide bathroom wall.”
Is your speech part of the problem or part of the answer? Yes or no. It’s binary.
Our nation has Moral Dementia. Moms everywhere taught the Real Golden Rule, but somehow it’s morphed into, “He who has the gold, makes the rules.”
That’s just plain wrong.
She taught you the Karma Corollary: Karma’s a bitch. If you put Bob the Dog in the washer, sooner or later, you’ll end up in the suds. Applaud violence and it will find you. In church-speak? It’s called, “So as ye reap, so shall ye sow.”
Or there’s the Niemoller Clause: If you do not stand for civility and the rule of law, it will not be there when you need it.
Need a guideline for civil speech? “When in Doubt, Don’t.” If you Doubt you’ll be proud of your words read aloud in a court of law, Don’t let them leave your head.
Show your own Mom that her life’s work meant something. Behave yourselves. I’ve had it with invective passing for discourse. Name calling is not dialogue. I’m old. I’m tired. I’m in a bad mood. You will be civil, dammit. If not, I’ll personally snatch you baldheaded.
Now. Pass me the pie. Please.