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Drop the first stone

Posted on 09/2/2010 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

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How do we break cycles of hate, abuse, disrespect and mistrust? It’s not a flippant question: Numerous studies show that people who are abused, dismissed, bullied and generally looked down upon are more like to adopt those behaviors later in life.
Watch this riveting presentation by economist and sociologist Jeremy Rifkin on why we need more empathy. Now consider your opinions and relationships and see if you can’t find room to be a bit more forgiving of those with whom you disagree.
I’ll start: I disagree with Glenn Beck. I think he fosters divisiveness. I am pretty sure he mangles facts to rile up his fans. But if I rant about how much I “hate” him or how “wrong” he is, what happens? People who agree with me say, “Yeah!” and people who disagree say “F#&! off!” and we are right where we started.
So I’ll give Glenn Beck a break. I don’t know how he grew up or how he was treated as a kid. I don’t know what shaped his worldview. He is a fellow human and, for all of our disagreements, I bet we would agree on at least one or two things. He has a TV show and a whole lot of people like him. Good for him and good for them.
It’s up to each of us to be nice, no strings attached. If we all wait for the other guy to put down the first stone, nothing will change for a very long time.