Troubling things hiding in plain sight 05/03/14

Vermont Public Radio comment for commentators brunch

 

My late mother never heard an adage in which she could not find a basic truth. For her, the idea of things hiding in plain sight was actually contained in the old saying, “there are none so blind as those who will not see.”

 

I have always opposed the notion of sweeping generalizations. I have subscribed to the idea that every human being is unique, And I have rejected the impulse to categorize people according to their race, religion, gender, economic status or sexual orientation. That means of course, that I am therefore allowed to do commentaries on public radio. 

 

But here is the dirty little secret that I discovered after spending most of my adult life living abroad while reporting from many of the countries of the world.

Human beings are remarkably similar. They may come from totally different cultures, speak different languages and pray to different Gods.

But there are human traits, which can be said to be universal.  

 

One of those universal traits is quite often not to see things that are in plain sight - or- to be deliberately blind to things one does not wish to see. While this may be understandable - perhaps a coping mechanism to avoid unnecessary conflict - it is not a desirable trait because it often implies tolerance for things which ought not to be tolerated.

 

 

For nearly a hundred years after the end of the Civil War, far too many Americans were blind to the racism which permeated much of American society.

And even today I am appalled at how tolerant we still appear to be, of the blatantly racist attitudes and words directed toward the first African American president and his family.

 

But as one who probably won’t live long enough to have to face its most serious consequences, I remain deeply concerned that of all the problems in our world today, climate change is the issue of our times.

 

We have just gone through one of the worst winters on record. Historical floods and blizzards, hurricanes, tornados, droughts and raging forest fires are happening all around us. Storms of the century seem to occur weekly. We all know our climate is changing, but too many of us seem content to acquiesce in these changes as though they are simply an inevitable fact of our lives.

 

Yet, this indifference concedes victory to the climate change deniers. It allows our political leaders to escape their responsibilities to address what I have no doubt is the greatest challenge of the 21st century- not just for the United States of America, but for the entire globe. My friends, we have all the proof we need- and it is right there, in plain sight.




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