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We are in the midst of the USA’s ugliest political campaign in my memory and my memory goes back to 1968. If you’d like to do the math, I was ten.
According to the FBI Mass shootings have risen drastically in the past half-dozen years:
There were, on average, 16.4 such shootings a year from 2007 to 2013, compared with an average of 6.4 shootings annually from 2000 to 2006. In the past 13 years, 486 people have been killed in such shootings, with 366 of the deaths in the past seven years. In all, the study looked at 160 shootings since 2000. (Shootings tied to domestic violence and gangs were not included.)
Road rage is all the rage. A AAA study showed that 78% of drivers engage in aggressive driving behavior. Over 90% of those drivers were white males in their twenties and thirties. Of those surveyed, 19% ended up in some type of confrontation.
We all witness rude, boorish, and just plain nasty behavior every day; in the grocery or at the gas station, at work or out to eat.
It’s an epidemic of asshattery.
Why is it so hard to be nice?
In the words of Pogo, we have met the enemy and it is us. We are all focused on the on-line screaming match that is the internet these days. It’s in the dollars that drive the 24 hours,or less, news cycle that CNN & Fox have foisted upon us. It’s a cycle we upvoted with our dollars. It is the massive sense of insecurity that comes with seeing all the world post nothing but good news when you feel that your life sucks. It is a sense of entitlement the size of Mont Blanc that urges you to scream at someone in traffic because they dare to drive 48 mph in a 45 when you want to drive 52 and after all, what is that loser doing on your goddamn road? It’s the economic stress that forces us into cars and trains for a pair of 80 minute commutes every day so we can afford to feed our families and put a roof over their heads.
It’s damn scary out there. I get that. But we’re in this together.
Here’s the deal. We need to nicen up. It may not be easy, but just as with learning a backflip off a diving board, it can be learned if it’s broken down into manageable steps.
That’s the idea behind the 3-Day Be-Nice Challenge. Don’t try and become Adonai, Buddha, Deva, Jesus, Muhammad, and Mr. Rogers all at once. It doesn’t work. A friend told me this.
Just be nice for 3 days. Not Pollyanna nice. Not use me for a doormat nice. Easy, simple stuff.
- Tell your spouse you love him/her more than usual.
- Hug your kids an extra time.
- Say hi to a stranger in the grocery store or coffee shop.
- Ask about a co-worker’s aging mom or dad.
- That wise-ass comment, online or in person? Just zip it.
- Smile at the homeless guy you see every day.
- Heck, maybe even give the homeless guy your Starbucks® Iced Coffee Americano or your lemon poppy seed muffin.
Baby steps. For 3 days.
It doesn’t cost much, this being nice. You’ll feel about, mmm, maybe 40% better for about 30% of your day. Your mileage may vary. Tell your friends why you’ve stopped being such a goddamn grouch all the time. Spread the word. Share the video
Give it a try. Report back to the Dads Roundtable Facebook page.