Listen:

I’m rarely at a loss for either what to write or how to express it.

In preparing to draft this week’s missive, I find myself describing my feelings in a multitude of single words.

Stunned. Sick. Furious. Distressed. Sad.

One of the challenges of coping with the  calamity at the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. is that many people view this as a political problem. In my opinion, it’s not political issue, but rather a social enigma.

How humans respond to rhetoric, how we think, how we communicate, how we behave, and what we find acceptable behavior is shaped greatly by where we are from, who has influenced us, and what we were taught was acceptable.

It’s compelling to dismiss or overlook nefarious behavior of others with a “yeah, but” in an effort to not call out “friends” or to avoid being ridiculed.

At some point, we all should start calling Balls and Strikes.

Just as baseball umpires seem to have different interpretations of the strike zone, there is a base foundation that they all work from. Fair arbiters of the pitch will use that basis to call ‘em as they see ‘em. Balls and strikes. Right and wrong.

As part of a democracy, we have the right to our opinions. We have the right to voice those opinions to anyone who wants to hear them. We can write letters, post on social media, and call our congresspeople. We can peacefully march in support or protest of issues. We can choose whom we have as friends.

But we should also muster the courage to confront what is always wrong: Violence against people and property; Inciting and encouraging violence and hate; Distortion and misrepresentation of facts; Mob rule; Murder and everything associated with attempting to harm others; and the blatant inhumanity towards people who don’t look like or think like us.

So if I’m really going to be calling balls and strikes here today, then I must admit that these “strikes” expand beyond the terrible events of last week.

We know discrimination and selfishness exist in our board rooms and factory floors. We know lack of empathy and disrespect exist in the corner offices and the company lunchroom. And we know that divisive words and behavior exist within families and in neighborhoods.

You’ve probably heard me espouse the Rotary 4-Way Test that I find so incredibly estimable in my life. In all the things we think, say, or do – Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

I hope we can all get to a point that regardless of whom we think is “one of us,” that we always are committed to honestly and courageously calling balls and strikes as we see ‘em.

Quote of the Week:

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

~ Thomas Jefferson

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