Chasms or Cracks

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June 26, 2013 by Alex Johannigman

It is my pleasure to welcome my first guest author, my good friend for the past 10 years, Matt McElhaney. He wrote a great piece and encouraged me to share it with all who would listen. Note that this was written earlier today shortly after SB5 was stalled and DOMA was struck down:

The past 12 hours has been difficult; not because of the judgments of the law, for those will rise and fall as they do, but for what I see as the loss of reason surrounding them. I feel that discourse in our country is being quietly assassinated and abolished. We now seem to be a nation of extremist factions; apparently whether we want to be or not… Our news is either left or right, we are for either life or choice, people are either traitors or heroes.

We have access to tap into to the nation’s collective consciousness in a way never imagined by our predecessors, and yet what seemingly should bear variety is pigeonholed into a side, or a party, or a movement. Given our unprecedented platform to speak, we have largely chosen to become shouting pundits, in lieu of respectful peers. What a terrible waste! This dismissive tendency of ‘disagreement equates hatred” is the declared war on discourse, and it stalls the engine of true and lasting progress.

As you might have seen, I was confused last night watching the senate. At first it was due to political naivety, and then it became about the spectacle of it all. Regardless of how much either side tried to bend the process to its will, or even what the bill in question was about, the tactic of delivering a deafening roar to drown out the vote seemed appropriate to our current state of things. It’s an endless and futile tennis match; a back and forth of agendas rather than a collaborative effort for something better.

I disagree with my future wife ALL THE TIME (apologies for dragging you into this Candice), and yet the majority of the good things, and the growth I’m most proud of in our relationship have been born out of understanding or at the very least seeking to understand the other side of the argument. I want this kind of progress for our country; I want something better for my future children and their generation. I think, whoever you are, that you do too. Perhaps your definition of better is different than mine, but maybe… just maybe it’s closer than your think.

I haven’t written poetry in years, so pardon my rust:

This plea is to all!

It has no side,

Yet it’s “Parley!” I cry above the din.

True there may be chasms to transverse,

Or perhaps just a crack.

Alas we shall never know;

While we stand with pistol in hand

Unturned and back to back.



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