On average, most of us have more adrenaline sloshing around in our systems than we did two years ago. Today’s news stories, online debates and heartstopping tragedies all contribute to a rising tide of anxiety and anger permeating the very air we breathe. We’re less happy and more reactive. Most of us are VERY clear on who’s to blame - and we're convinced it’s not us.
While the causes of today’s angst run deep, requiring large-scale economic and political change, we also do well to remember the simple power of personal interactions. Take Daryl Davis, for example. Davis is a black jazz musician who over the years has developed friendships with a couple hundred KKK members. Some of his friends’ have left the Klan, leaving their robes with him as a tribute to his influence. Like most bridge-builders, he and his new friends catch flak from both sides. But the positive impact of those unlikely relationships is unmistakeable.
When we engage in arguments online, in person, or even just in our heads, we want to win, usually by outclassing and humiliating our opponent. Occasionally people change their minds in response to a rousing verbal thumping - but not often. Especially if the exchange is tinged with contempt, resistance stiffens. Every time we engage in a blistering exchange, we contribute to the negative electric charge in the air. Give a listen as Davis describes the openness and persistence that led to his remarkable saga. Whether or not you agree with all of his choices, we can’t argue with the positive impact rippling out over the years.
If someone offered you a method to win 200 allies to the cause of peace and justice, would you take it? Well, he is and we can.
(Note: We selected this clip for its content and backing by the King Center. The requests for donations at the end belong to the King Center, not to us.)