Sutherland: Anger doesn’t solve anything

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Anger, simmering with an unreasonable wish for total control, is a dangerous thing. 

I have always been grateful for a peaceful farm and home, but never more than during this turbulent time. Every single day I count my lucky stars to be among the rural population with a patch of land away from the crush of people carrying a nameless fury, many of whom seem to want to run the world, self-interest being put above all else. 

I finished reading a news report about airline attendants who are finding it necessary to take de-escalation techniques to handle extremely difficult passengers. A physical fight can erupt over the simple request to stow a tray table. It is defiance and violence over seemingly small things that has us asking how we got here. 

Self-discipline is a learned skill. Some argue that forcing everyone to toe the proverbial line is a societal control that should be fought. Without compliance over the simple things, big things happen — sometimes for the better, but often for the demise of many. 

I learned as a child that I was not a fighter. I knew the rules, and without great debate, I followed them. Because of this, I was always shocked when friends said, “Why do you go do barn chores twice a day? Just say you’re not going to!” It wasn’t that I couldn’t think for myself. I wanted to be a part of things, and it seemed to me that only the foolish would want to sit inside and watch TV. My parents were in charge, as parents should be, and their guidance set the tone in a positive way. 

People point out that we now have more than ever to fight with one another about. I contend it has always been this way. Through wars, social injustice, new laws being put in place, poverty, busing, taxation, representation — this is the price paid for living in society, any society. 

Fighting for choice is nothing new, but fighting with the innocent who are simply trying to do their job is what I find so shocking, frightening and offensive. Doctors, nurses, caregivers, airline workers, store employees and so many others played no part in how we got to this place, and yet they are put in circumstances of battle. 

If working as a flight attendant meant being spit on, head-butted, slapped and stomped simply for asking a passenger to comply with rules, what would your reaction be? The actions of one or two people acting out of control could put hundreds of innocent people at risk. I can’t even imagine how it would feel to be that middle-ground worker, simply trying to enforce rules your job demands. 

Raging anger never solved anything, and I find myself praying for the day that individual war mellows into the realization that fighting one another only adds fuel to a fire none of us ever wanted.

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.

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