See

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I See

 

I see is something we say all the time. “Oh, yes, I see.”

We grow up learning little expressions and sayings that are perfectly natural to us and probably to those around us. There was a time when so called bad words were not used in the presence of small children because they tend to repeat the bad ones just like they do cat and dog and mommy and daddy. Often that occurs at the most possibly embarrassing moment. I don’t know if that rule is still in effect.

As a result, we sometimes do not think about the unlikely nature of the phrase we are using. Phrases like “I see”. That phrase has nothing to do with eyesight and may very well be used by a person who cannot literally see anything but has come to mean understanding or comprehension of whatever is being said or demonstrated, etc. A person may hear a speech or lecture or an explanation about string theory and simply reply, “I see.” Though, technically, they do not see but more precisely understand.

At a recent dinner party, one person who was from Chicago, was telling about being on an elevator in the South for the first time with some other people but he was standing near the floor selection buttons. He had gotten on and selected his floor which happened to be the 12th. Others got on and made their own selections.

A little lady got on the crowded elevator carrying an umbrella and said, “Mash 6”. He did not know what “Mash 6” meant nor did he realize the instructions were directed to him so he did nothing.  The elevator stopped at the second floor and some people got off and then continued on to the eighth floor where it stopped again. When the doors opened the little lady exited the elevator and as she did so, whacked the fellow from Chicago several times with her umbrella and yelled, “I told you to mash 6. The next time someone asks you to mash 6, you mash 6!” As she stepped outside, she turned and whacked him one more time for good measure.

He said he had never heard someone say “mash” a button. To him you mashed potatoes or maybe a cockroach. You pressed buttons where he came from. He did not “see” what the lady meant, you see.

I took a sales course from a major multinational manufacturer of office machines and they used canned (memorized) sales presentations. They referred to “touching” the buttons since any other phrase might make it sound like using the machines required a lot of effort. “Touch” seemed to them to be a better term.

Touch was much better than, say, press, push, mash or, hit when it came to using the buttons to operate the machine. But you can see how confusion could reign. But, I was never whacked with an umbrella, either. That would certainly tend to drive the point home if after being hit you ever “saw” what the lady meant in the first place.

Today, there is a lot that I do not “see” about the world. But there are some things that are coming more and more into focus. In a country that eradicated, for the most part, the pesky people who were living here when our ancestors came, we have been able to forget that episode in American history that shows what can happen when cultures clash and ways of life stand in conflict. We see a segment of the world’s society that is constantly at war within its various factions and believe that, somehow, if we can just get them here all that behavior will change and they will become Americanized. Groups of people of whatever persuasion that feel they have been victimized want tolerance for themselves and have come to believe that all people have the right to be at least tolerated.

In some parts of the world the Jews have been and are persecuted but have found tolerance in the US. Here that segment has flourished to a large extent.

Christians found religious liberty here and various denominations work and live together along with Jewish and Catholic and other religions. People of different political beliefs have managed to live next door to one another. Gay and straight live and work in the same businesses and neighborhoods. Women have demanded and gotten more equal treatment. Blacks have gotten on more even footing and I hear some say they are still living in slavery here but I do not see any long lines of them or any other group waiting to leave when the next ship sails.

Yet, none of those groups, to my knowledge have avowed to destroy the US and its way of life as one group has and is trying to do. None of those groups have cried “death to America”. None of these groups have declared jihad against us and believe violence is justified against the infidels. To that group, tolerance is not acceptable but rather “submission to” sharia law is the only and ultimate goal.

There may be things that cannot and should not be “tolerated”. A group that claims to be peaceful while striving to rip out the core of the very being of the country they run to for protection from their fellow believers maybe should not be tolerated. Many groups that call for tolerance for this group would themselves not be tolerated in that society although they call for us to tolerate those who wish to annihilate our way of life and substitute their religious law.

What you “see” is not always what you get. These “peaceful” people seem to be at war on every piece of ground they inhabit. And, they do not leave their beliefs and convictions at the waters edge to become “American” but arrive with the idea of changing us to their failed ways of life. At least, that is how I see it. And, we have a group of politicians who have cast their lot with them. A few places, like Saudi Arabia, appear peaceful enough but have paid millions and millions to their enemies for protection and deny basic human rights to many in the process. And the US has afforded them weapons and tacit military protection.

In 1979, a group tried to change Afghanistan and do away with hard core Islamic rule and this led to a civil war in which Russia got involved. The US decided it could not let Russia take over in that country and sent Stinger missiles and people to help use them to kill about 14,000 Russians, shoot down over 400 aircraft and wound about 50,000 more only to find ourselves back years later sacrificing several thousand of our own young people in a futile attempt to change things in a country that does not and will not accept change.

You “see”, we do not always “see”. Rather, we think that good intentions warrant and justify bad decisions. So we reward “A” while hoping for “B”.  Do you “see” what I mean? JC©2016

 

 

 

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