A cure for what ails us

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The “Readers Write” page of the Cd’A Press recurrently explodes with hateful language regarding politics.

These letters appear to be written by souls who imagine that their tribe is in possession of infallible knowledge, and all others are either misled, dim-witted or demonic. From their questionable knowledge base, they spew forth words of vituperative malice in judgment of the perceived evils of other tribes.

Do we really have to do this? It is destructive, divisive and likely simple minded. Admittedly, tribalism does offer the comforts of self-justification and delusions of superiority, but these elements are acutely toxic to the soul.

Truth is elusive in this age of raving social media, politicians, biased journalists and extremist talk shows who shamelessly disseminate carefully crafted misinformation designed to appeal to target tribes for profit and votes.

If you are devoted to one of these tribal sources, it would be wise to get a second opinion. False comfort will have to be sacrificed in favor of critical thinking, but the process will engender more understanding and kindness toward others. You will become a more gracious, happier soul.

For starters, check out some of the internet sites that evaluate bias in various news sources. Comparing results will offer a reasonable take on the slant of any major news publication.

Get a second opinion by reading more than one version of any story of importance to you. Definitely avoid social media spews, or at least take them with a brick of salt.

This approach should reveal the complexities of the problems we face, and discourage the oversimplifications inherent in tribalism. Hopefully, it will lead to a more cooperative mindset regarding the difficulties we face as a nation. No single tribe is in possession of all the answers.

The Coeur d’Alene Press is even assaulted with the occasional tribal Bible outburst wherein the writing tribesmen accuse people with opposing political views of being evil in the sight of God. This second-guessing of God seems modestly presumptuous, especially since the Bible definitively states that God’s ways and thoughts are as far above ours as the heavens are above the earth (Isaiah 55: 8-9). Tribesmen should read before they write.

For these souls, an excellent second opinion would be the New Testament. Jesus taught humility, forgiveness and love. He encouraged us to honestly address our own faults (Matthew 7:5) and to refrain from condemning others (Luke 6:37). Any Christian should realize that Christ is perfectly qualified to manage the judgment business without our assistance.

Jesus did criticize self-righteousness and hypocrisy. I suggest we strive to avoid having to confront that in the mirror, and consider working together with open minds and hearts to solve our problems.

•••

Larry Frei is a Coeur d’Alene resident.

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