Misery loves company Law of Reciprocity
A house divided against itself cannot stand What u give is what you get
A man’s worst enemies are often those of his own house As you sow so shall you reap
As you make your bed, so you must lie upon it Evil begets evil
What goes around comes around Eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth
Reading through the list of American and religious Proverbs, there is no doubt of their common thread. The stark reality of these truths in times of great sorrow and anger is extremely prophetic and for far too many, poetic.
I listened to a statistic that stated that by definition “four deaths” are considered a massacre; as such, the U.S. has experienced 294 mass shootings out of 274 days in 2015.ˈ Such a large number obviously includes the street violence of urban America.
I recently attended a vigil for a young child I personally know who was shot 3 times near her home, in a relatively “stable” area of the District of Columbia. She physically survived but far too many of her contemporaries have not, yes, children.
The right of the people to “bear arms” has spawned a culture of violence unparalleled by any other western nation on earth. It is as if “how the wild west was won” is a continuing American saga – a live action game perpetuated by nefarious gamers. We speak of the “ethnic cleansing” that happens within the war torn countries where the U.S. tries to provide intervention, but our own country has become an experiment of freedom that many may label as a dismal failure in civil diplomacy. So whereas we are too “civilized” to kill off whole groups (though there are those who have called for such drastic measures for the “undesirable”), we are obviously not too civilized to pluck each other off a few at a time far surpassing the numbers of our terrorists related deaths.
The aforementioned Proverbs, many of which are ingrained into the American religious and secular psyche, bring forth a generational truth. As a nation, we are taught to believe an action breeds a just and reciprocal action. So what’s the catch? I have come to believe that most people deeply believe this only for others and not for themselves individually or for those they consider within their in-group.
As long as the desperation and subsequent dying is in “other” neighborhoods happening to “other” people, it must be “the others” just reward. Well, the “other” appears to be proliferating into every neighborhood, along every street, among every racial, economic, and philosophical background.
Violence as a solution to personal, social, and religious “ills” is being funneled into the hearts and minds of our young as routinely as the daily news. We are indeed “reaping what we have sown”. We as a nation must acknowledge the complicity of our anti-humanity climate in the propagation of hatred, self-interest, and sometimes in the name of God!
Many Baby Boomers grew up with the wisdom of these Proverbs but somewhere along the way stopped passing them down. Maybe it is time for parents, elders, community leaders, town hall meetings, associations, and the like, to begin a serious dialogue about the POWER OF A PROVERB!
P.S. Perkins, Author