The current feelings in our nation remind me of a horror film, especially one of the teenage slasher movies. You know the scene: the cute girl is in the house alone and hears something in the basement. The audience screams: do not go in the basement!

Then she creeps slowly into the basement, and of course she does not turn on the light. The audience screams: turn on the light!

As she walks into a room in the basement, she does not look behind the door. The audience screams: look behind the door!

Then the audience just screams as the girl screams and the slasher gets another victim.

When the police finally catch the slasher, the first thing they do is read “him” his rights. Anyone who watches these kind of movies or crime type shows knows
how these go. They start with: You have the right to remain silent. Anything you do say, can and will be used against you.

I feel like America forgot the first part of those rights, You have the right to remain silent and is now falling victim to everything they say, anything you do say, can and will be used against you.

I looked up our rights, these rights come from the 5th Amendment. There were many responses for the reason to this right, the most “legal” being a person is under no obligation to incriminate themself, but I liked this one, for this time best: the Founding Fathers wanted to grant people this freedom in order to help ensure fair trials.

Have you had a conversation lately with, well anyone? It started out nicely enough and then all of a sudden you felt like you were on a fast moving train heading for a locomotive disaster? The words come more closely together, the volume becomes pitched, the emotions are elevated, you can see that this is not going to have a tone of “give and take” or I listen to your point of view, you listen to mine.

This is where I wish we could all simply engage our rights. We have the right to remain silent. We can all realize there will be no “fair trial” or exchange of views. If we were to acknowledge the escalation of the conversation, on both sides, possibly we could back what started as friendly engagement into more neutral territory. Then maybe we can avoid that train wreck.

The problem is when we walk right into a situation, like our teenage victim, and just do not see it coming. This has happened to us all. There are so many quotes and sayings about thinking before speaking. I found a quote I really liked about observation: “When you observe rather than react, you reclaim your power.” ~Denise Linn

I know so many of these people who are reacting with such division and anger at this time in our history; both sides of the various lines: blue/red, all lives matter/black lives matter, masks/no masks and they are all good people. Today, as I ponder with sadness the schism in our society, I encourage the power of observation and silence.

Maybe we should take the idea of the secret ballet more seriously. Maybe we should bring it into our personal lives. Is it possible that there were wise people in our past that were able to foresee a time when we as people would become so politically charged and divided that anonymity would be the only way to maintain peace, to prevent socially bullying or to enable large family gatherings? Is it too late, even now or if we all took the right to remain silent, would we make it through this emotionally charged political season?