This Monday morning, I am headed back home after Tony Robbins Date with Destiny this past week in Florida. This week, something weighed on me that I wanted to share with you as we begin the week. I feel that everywhere I look seems to have the same sentiment from the far left and right, as well as both sides of the aisle. I keep hearing over and over that our country is more divided than ever. Than ever? Really? Have we forgotten our history so quickly? I can agree that it appears that our nation may be moving towards polar ends of a societal spectrum in theory, but it is far from more divided than ever.
Just like everything else in our lives, we are bias. We are bias in just about everything, and generational bias is no exception. A generational bias is the belief that your own particular generation was or is better than the current or previous ones. I see it all the time in the criticism of current issues, behaviors, and social standards. I’ve seen the generation before me condemn the sexual exploits of current music industry trends at concerts, nightclubs, and videos. Somehow, they fail to remember the rock star-big hair bands of the 80’s, where women on the shoulders of men gladly and proudly exposed their breasts before crowds of thousands to bands that glorified sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. I guess those 80’s bikini and wet t-shirt contests of the nightlife industry weren’t of a sexual nature either. Let’s not even start on racial issues, which yes, I believe we still have serious racial issues in this country. We have a long history of racial divide that is getting better but it is far from over. We have had a black President, black athletes dominate certain professional leagues, and some of the nations top businessmen and women are strong black leaders. There are still racial issues and racial tension among Americans but that is certainly not worse than separate drinking fountains just a mere 50 yrs ago. (Remember that when you discuss racial issues, things may be getting better but the person you’re talking to may have encountered racism at levels you can’t even comprehend.) Not only do I hear ethnic claims but that religious freedoms are being attacked more and more as well. Really? Do I have to remind you of Nazis, or more recently maybe in Yugoslavia, Darfur, Bosnia, Cambodia, and now the Middle East? My point is, don’t lose sight of historical association with the statements and media driven accusations of today. Some things to put our moral history as a human race into perspective for you…
PROSTITUTION WAS LEGAL AND WIDELY PRESENT IN PUBLIC BROTHELS WELL INTO THE 20TH CENTURY – THIS INCLUDED LEGAL SEX-TRAFFICKING AND “WHITE-SLAVERY”.
RACIAL SEGREGATION OF PUBLIC FACILITIES DIDN’T LEGALLY END UNTIL 1964 AND STILL CONTINUED IN MANY SOUTHERN STATES WELL INTO THE 70’S.
RELIGIOUS/ETHNIC GENOCIDE HAS EXISTED SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME UNDER THE NAME OF SEVERAL DIFFERENT RELIGIONS/SECTS AND CONTINUES TO THIS DAY. (THE ISLAMIC STATE IS NOT NEW).
IN 1942 AMERICA UPROOTED 120,000+ JAPANESE AMERICANS AND PUT THEM IN INTERNMENT CAMPS (CONCENTRATION CAMPS) FOR THE DURATION OF WWII (62% WERE AMERICAN BORN CITIZENS).
These are all things that have happened in the last 100 years and it just goes to show you that we are from being a model of morality, but we are also far from being headed towards the worst days in America. The truth is we live in a world of sin, and no matter how hard we strive for ethical and moral purity we will never achieve it. There will be dark times and there will be times of absolute grace and gratitude toward our fellowman. Our goal should be for the latter to far outweigh the former. This past week, that is exactly what I witnessed.
This was my fourth Tony Robbins event I have been able to be apart of and it was an amazing experience as expected. As I looked through the crowd this year, over thousands of people of different races and religions from all over the world, I saw only one thing… Compassion. Watching people with little to know connection with one other and mostly likely having wildly different views and opinions on just about everything, I realized that everyone there had one single goal. Everyone was there to better themselves and their surroundings. That was it. From that, I was able to witness real compassion, real breakthroughs, genuine love and affection from one stranger to another. I believe… No, I know, that people from all walks of life can come together with a common goal, with common decency, and with genuine love and compassion for a complete stranger. I know this because I’ve dug a fighting hole.
In the Marine Corps, when setting into a defensive posture on the battle field, you must dig a fighting hole (or foxhole) to better defend your position. There are certain characteristics to make a fighting hole a good one, but what really matters, is the guy that’s in the hole with you. You both depend on one another for everything. Your sectors of fire overlap to help cover you both. You take turns on watch so each of you may rest. You eat together, spend days together, and have many cold nights together. You, and the man in that hole with you, know that your lives depend on one another. At no time does the other man’s race, religion, sexual orientation, or political views ever matter. Now that doesn’t mean it’s not discussed or heavily debated because it is, a lot. It means that it doesn’t matter. Some of the most sadistic humor I have ever heard has come from times spent in the Marine Corps and in those fighting holes. After every laugh, every harsh ridicule, each man knows he is valued, taken care of, and willing to lay down his life for the man next to him. The goal of a common good has the ability to bring out the best in us.
As a society, we are collectively digging ourselves into a hole with the continuous and often petty disagreements we allow to drive a wedge between us. I wish we could collectively look our fellowman as simply that, a fellow man. I wish we could be open in our dialogue with one another on differencing opinion and still walk away with respect and compassion for one another. I wish we could stop digging ourselves into a hole, or better yet, I wish America could spend just a few nights in one.