Saturday, July 9, 2016

Mutual Respect an' Negotiation

I'll tell you what brought this on. That "Black Lives Matter" group holding up the gay parade in Toronto until the gay rights group signed off on the first group's demands. Well they got the publicity alright, but it wasn't the kind they were after. In one fell swoop they managed to diminish their credibility as a viable entity. In the first place, an agreement made under duress is not enforceable, as they soon found out. Secondly, they presented themselves not as friends seeking help, but rather as masters of the throng. It certainly wasn't well thought out. Maybe the following will serve a purpose.


Mutual Respect an' Negotiation

Well, that's what it's all about, ain't it? You gotta respect other people's choices about lifestyles, religion, ethnic culture, an' a whole long list o' other things. By the same token, them "others" gotta respect your choices too. That's what ya call yer mutual respect. And that ain't the end of it neither. No, that's only just the very beginnin' o' things. The hard part is to come to some understandin' of how to cope with all the things that are either foreign and/or disagreeable to you. Ya got to give somethin' in order to get somethin'. I think it's called negotiatin'. Well, an' there's all kinds o' negotiatin' tactics around too.

Years ago my sister's girlfriend wanted to bring a couple of Mormon elders over to the house (no doubt to convert us to the Mormon religion). My dad, sly old fox that he was said; "by all means, they're more than welcome. Why not come over for dinner?" That of course gave him all the advantages. It was his house an' he could afford to make the rules. There would be no talk of religion or politics, but they were welcome to come and have a good meal and a friendly visit. It worked out well too 'cause after these two big strappin' guys in their blue serge suits had packed away an enormous meal they sat around until late an' chatted about everythin' under the sun except religion an' politics. An' they came back a number of times too over their two-year assignment (probably because of mom's good old Mennonite cookin'). In fact, they corresponded long after their term was up an' they'd gone back home. Everybody came out a winner in that negotiation.

A different kind o' negotiatin' was that of Nestor Makhno, the Ukrainian Anarchist who took it to a different extreme, makin' his own rules. He went racin' across the Russian Steppes on stolen Mennonite horses, pillagin' plunderin' rapin, an' murderin' an' takin' whatever he wanted. The only thing he an' his gang left in return was disease (Typhus) an' lice, much the same as the white man did in America. The upshot was that the communists finally wiped him out an' he died a penniless pauper in Paris France, still clingin' to his beliefs. Turns out he was only an annoyin' pimple on the arse of the Great Russian bear.

Well of course I could cite the negotiation between Moses, Aaron and the Egyptian Pharaoh which netted the Israelites the land o' milk an' honey an' swallowed the Egyptian army into the Red Sea.

What this points out (to me) is that while my old man wasn't no smarter than Makhno or the Pharaoh, (or even the Black Matters group with their shenanigans at the Toronto Gay parade), he had a genuine respect for his visitors (and they for him). On that mutual respect basis they were able to build a genuine friendship. We ought to learn how to do that. At least that's how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin'.




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