By Jeff Davidson
For 8+ years, I attended a monthly session held by a woman named Sharon, which focused on getting in touch with one’s own life. I found it to be rewarding, as did my fellow attendees. Each month, we watched a 20-to-30-minute video discussing some aspect of grappling with an everyday issue in life.
Afterwards, led by Sharon, we would have an hour-long discussion. She would make many observations and comments, and then participants would chime in as they felt the urge. I took many notes that proved to be valuable afterwards. I shared those notes with Sharon so that she could post them online for all others.
As the years passed, we continued to cover vital topics. Even if a presenter on video wasn’t stellar, there was still much that could be discussed.
Subtle but Distinct
Around the time that Joe Biden was placed in the White House, and the Woke movement went into hyperdrive, Sharon changed a bit. Always upbeat, introspective, and relevant, I now detected a mild case of preachiness. I let it go because she was so brilliant otherwise that the slight change in her approach was not going to diminish my enthusiasm.
One day, when we were discussing an issue that bordered on race relations, a participant made observations which I thought seemed a bit too far to the Left. Afterwards, I emailed Sharon and told her that I felt we had strayed into unnecessary waters. Her response surprised me. Sharon is an African American, a non-issue over the eight years that I attended. Now, she seemed to be in support of statements in the direction of critical race theory that didn’t have much to do with the overall direction of the sessions.
She remarked that what the participant had said was a vital part of the overall discussion. Sorry, I didn’t want to be preached to by the Left, and certainly not on race relations. Even if people were giving their heartfelt opinions and observations, in my view it was not what the class was about.
Every other person, at one point or another, professes to be a paragon of human relations and postures that they don’t need commentary on their viewpoint of humanity, race relations, culture, and how society unfolds. So, I’m no better than anybody else despite the following: I am a Caucasian man. I am from Bloomfield, Connecticut, where 10 to 15% of the students in my high school were African American.
Growing up, I had black kids on my farm team baseball, Little League baseball, Babe Ruth League baseball, and American Legion baseball teams. I had them in Cub Scouts, after-school activities, the freshman basketball team, and my intramural team (when I did not make JVs or the varsity). We had black cheerleaders, blacks on the student council, and some black class presidents. It was no big deal.
As a graduating senior, during the last week, when there are parties all over the place, I attended two different parties hosted by black classmates. In college, I had several black students in my small dormitory house of 60 people, in my undergraduate business classes, and my graduate school classes. This was all in Connecticut. I could go on, but you get the picture.
It’s Different Here
When I moved to North Carolina, I learned firsthand, of course, that the history of North Carolina and the South regarding race relations is rather different than Connecticut and New England. Regardless, I don’t feel like I need to be preached to.
I am taking everyone as an individual, or every group, and make my assessment based on behavior, certainly not skin color. Later, I sought to resume Sharon’s sessions. When I looked online at program descriptions, once again I felt as if there had been a mild drift. An element of Leftist ideology had infiltrated in tiny amounts.
When you’re discussing grappling with life issues, prevailing Leftist ideology on issues objectively are not part of the sessions, no matter how much others protest claiming that you cannot exist as an island within society. Yes, I understand that argument and still say I do not want to be preached to.
I have attended vegetarian dinners where everyone in attendance naturally assumes that everyone else is Liberal, because after all, a Conservative wouldn’t be intelligent enough to choose vegetarianism. I’ve been at other events held by others who also made broad sweeping assumptions. As you can guess, I no longer attend.
Arrogance and Ignorance
The group arrogance as well as ignorance of those on the Left – that everyone agrees with them, that they have a lock on the truth, and that their actions are sacrosanct – is simply too much.
Many of these individuals mean to do well; they don’t understand that as fish in a fish tank don’t know they’re in water, these people don’t know that they’re in Leftist land.
Someone might say that Conservatives do the same, but my experience is, generally, they do not. Today, the typical Conservative who I encounter proceeds with a live and let live attitude. They acknowledge that Liberals exist; they do not perpetually seek to indoctrinate them. They don’t assume that everybody automatically thinks like they do.
What a world it would be if people across the political spectrum recognized that others could have differing opinions on vital topics, not everyone agrees, and no one has a lock on what’s right, true, and best for society at all times.
Jeff Davidson is “The Work-Life Balance Expert®” and the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management.