The goal of most sane humans

The laptop is in my lap, I am sitting in our love seat, and Summer has curled up next to me with her head against my hip, so I have to extend my right arm to manipulate the keys. It is much more comfortable to pull my arm down and pet her head and stroke her fur; I have little doubt she planned it that way.

Tonight the supposed leader of the free world gave his State of the Union address. Even though I work in the news business, I haven’t watched this speech for years. It’s all about fighting — fighting his political adversaries, fighting for some imagined agenda, fighting about whatever country he is sending kids to fight in, always fighting, except when he pauses to use people as props, people who were invited to sit in the balcony and smile and wave while the president praises them and thanks them for whatever it was that earned them that seat.

No, thank you. I’ve heard enough States of the Union with their calls to the war du jour. I would rather sit with a sleeping golden retriever and think about peace.

You remember peace, the natural state of things, the goal of most sane humans. 

We have so much more in common with our neighbors than any differences that the petty demagogues and sociopaths drum up, but demagogues and sociopaths can be charming, as you know, and before you know it they have you whipped into a frenzied anger because how could those other people be so … so … so … well, they’re what my favorite sociopath says they are, and what are we going to do about it!

You can play the shouting game all you like. It’s a shame that we let the nasties get under our skin so much. Most of the time humans get along — we live and love and do business and play together in peace. The anomalies become news stories because they are anomalies — the person who lashed out in anger, the plane that didn’t land safely, the honest person victimized by a thief — but because the anomalies are broadcast far and wide, we start to believe hatred and violence and crime are commonplace.

People want peace; it’s as simple as that. I don’t want to pick a fight, and neither do you. Tell me you’d rather be pushing and shoving than sitting in a love seat snuggled with a golden retriever — or whatever your vision of a perfectly peaceful moment is — and I’ll smile, think about calling you a liar, then think twice because, well, I just said I don’t want to pick a fight.

Nope, I just want to sit here and watch this beautiful dog sleep.

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