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The Friday Morning Listen: Bob Dylan – Oh Mercy

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We live in a political world / Wisdom is thrown into jail /It rots in a cell, is misguided as hell / Leaving no one to pick up a trail

Yeah, say it, Mr. Dylan. Though the idea sort of frightens me, I'd love to sit down across the table from Bob and kick around thoughts about modern society. What would 'old Bob say about today's most popular word, "civility"? In the world of politics, he would probably say that most of this is not new. He would be mostly right there. It's an ugly game and always has been. At least in the United States.

Still, that does not mean that I need to accept the divisiveness and lack of civility. It used to be kind of fun to crack wise about the crazy people on reality television and talk radio. And sure, while some of it is obviously cartoonish, bits of the behavior have leaked out into the general population. I'm not talking purely about politics either because for every Joe Wilson there is a Kanye West, a Serena Williams, a Jerry Springer spinoff. The world lacks many things, but stupidity and ignorance are not on the list.

We live in a political world / In the cities of lonesome fear / Little by little
/ You turn in the middle / But you're never sure why you're here.

But then there's the 'discourse.' Much of is so mind-numbingly cynical and depressing that it all feels like a dream. Except that it's not. When somebody points this out, a common retort is "This is the way it's always been! Man up and take a side!" I'm sorry, but the taking of sides is what has gotten us into this mess in the first place, especially when taking a side these days seems to involve beating a dead horse with a bag full of rocks and fact-free screed.

We live in a political world / Under the microscope / You can travel anywhere / And hang yourself there / You always got more than enough rope.

It does feel like we're hanging ourselves. Slowly. I'm not suggesting that people can't disagree on things. What bothers me is how people are so willing to dehumanize others because they hold differing viewpoints. I don't mind somebody disagreeing with me, but when you think I'm stupid because of it…well, that's where we've gone wrong.

Me? I don't pretend to have the answers and have to be content to do my own thing: which is to put these words together, let them loose, and hope that they can do some good. Hey Mr. Dylan, ya think they will?

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About Mark Saleski

  • http://www.confessionsofafanboy.com Josh Hathaway

    I think I can round up some witnesses who’d say yes. Well done.

  • http://www.marksaleski.com MarkSaleski

    thanks josh.

    …and happy birthday old man!