Take some time to look at an issue through someone else's eyes.
Police work is not akin to a video game, politics is not a reality show or top network series and just because someone posted it on Facebook or sent out a tweet on Twitter doesn’t make it true.
America is in dire need of a reality check or, more precisely, an education concerning what, exactly, reality is.
Outrage over police shooting and killing black men in Louisiana and Minnesota sparked another round of outrage last week. That was followed by Thursday evening’s ambush of police officers who were protecting protestors at a Dallas rally; protestors who were decrying yet more violence against black men. Think about that for a minute. We live in a country where the police come out in force to ensure the safety of people who are protesting police. For their dedication to duty and honor, five died. Six others were injured.
On the other side, just a few days later, photos of police confronting and arresting an unarmed and unthreatening protester in Baton Rouge went viral.
Are the police bad? No. Are there bad police? Yes. But until you work in a situation where you put your life on the line every single day, you really have no room to judge. A simple traffic stop can be fatal if an officer stops the wrong person, an armed person, a wanted person, someone with a grudge and a gun.
Are the Black Lives Matter organizers bad? No. Are there those among them who would capitalize on a bad situation and make it worse? Yes. The shooter in Dallas said he wasn’t involved with the group. But he was mad about police shooting black people. He was mad at white people; especially white cops. He wanted to teach them a lesson.
So where is the truth? What is the reality?
In the world of reality show host turned politician Donald Trump, the fault lies with Democrats, specifically President Barack Obama and presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Obama, meanwhile, made plans to attend a memorial service for the fallen officers. President George W. Bush was also to speak at the ceremony.
Perhaps we need a little less finger pointing and a little more cross party togetherness. Beyond that, perhaps we just need to open our eyes to other points of view.
Trouble is, for many people these days reality is what they want it to be, regardless of whether it is true. If you believe we faked the moon landing you can go online and find like-minded people to reinforce your view. There may only be a few hundred people who think the moon landing was faked, but if they are your main circle of friends, you’re going to be just as adamant as they are that it was all a big hoax.
Even if you think the moon landing was real, why not talk to those who think it was faked and find out why they believe what they do?
We all need to be open to exploring alternate views. The way we see things isn’t always an accurate interpretation. Closed minds will only lead to confrontation, while open minds promote a better understanding of the world around us.
We can’t fix our problems if we are divided into competing camps. We all share in the responsibility, and finding solutions starts with looking at an issue through the eyes of someone on the other side.