Stop Before Judging. Think Before Speaking.

It has been a struggle to put my feelings into words.

For over two weeks, I have wanted to lash out at what I see as the opposition, condemn their actions, decry their ignorance, and shake my fist at their prejudice and violence.

But I have only watched and listened.

And there has been so much to see and hear.

I take in the news first thing in the morning and have done so for over 25 years. As a business person, journalist, writer, and, now, teacher, it is what I should do. I want  to know what is going on, who is saying what, who is selling stuff, how they are selling stuff, and who is buying stuff.

I find it all incredibly interesting. But it can also be disturbing.

And what has happened in Ferguson, MO, is disturbing to me. It made me want to do what I said I wanted to do in the second sentence.

Then I heard this commentary by Michael Smerconish Saturday morning. It only lasts about four minutes and is incredibly insightful. You may have to put up with a short ad to get to the video, but it is worth it.

Smerconish put into words what I need to hear and what I want to say. He is an incredibly insightful journalist and looks way beyond the headlines for a story.

According to Smerconish, we know some things about what happened that day in Ferguson, and we don’t know other things. Right now there are more items in the “Don’t Know” than the “Know.”

But that has not stopped us from forming our opinions, jumping in the fray, and shouting at one another…

…which is typical of the two things that we do which contribute to the social, cultural, racial, and political divides in our country. And we are all guilty.

Number One: Just as we form opinions without knowing the facts, we choose political leaders based on if they are in our “club” and go to our church…which is just as suspect as choosing doctors based on what kind of cars they drive. We also voice our opinions on political issues based on who said it and on which news site we read or saw it. Seldom, do we really research the facts and make up our minds.

Number Two: We shout at one another. Just as the officer allegedly used uncivilized, provocative language to Michael Brown and the banter was allegedly returned, we have no trouble throwing insults at one another on social media, out the car window, and on the streets.

Until we stop jumping to conclusions and shouting at one another, the violence won’t stop.

Until we start acting civilized, the barbarism will continue.

The fact remains that another teenager is dead. Another mother weeps. And another truth is yet to be uncovered.

Please, if you have a heart and a stable mind, stop before judging. Think before speaking.

The welfare of our union depends upon our doing so. Whether or not we do will determine the legacy we leave our children.

It is just that simple.









About Pam Avery Printed

I graduated from the University of Georgia in 1972 with a major in journalism (public relations) and a minor in business (marketing). My experience for the last 40 years includes working in the corporate world (banking), the newspaper industry (advertising design and sales), owning and selling a restaurant, restoring and utilizing several old buildings on the property, teaching private dance and drama lessons for 20 years, free-lance writing for a national textile firm, publishing two children’s books, and ghost writing a book. My last tour of duty before beginning the current chapter was working as a reporter, photographer, and columnist for five weekly community newspapers. And now I writing at Columbus State University in Columbus Ga. I consider myself very fortunate--I get to be around intelligent, energetic and enthusiastic young people. What a joy. I believe the written word is one of the most powerful tools known to humankind. And now we have the ability to reach millions with a simple click of the mouse. Wow.
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7 Responses to Stop Before Judging. Think Before Speaking.

  1. joanncrtt says:

    I agree with everything you said but the blatant racism in our country, still today, is troubling. To say the least. Raising a bi-racial child, I see it all the time. It rips my heart out, knowing what will never be.

  2. Jim May says:

    The truth as found by a grand jury is not necessarily the truth.

    18 year old Michael Brown was shot 6 times. Even if he charged, even if he had injured officer Wilson, it was Michal Brown who laid in his own blood for four hours on a street in Ferguson Missouri.

    That is the truth.

  3. Jack Saunsea says:

    Very interesting post and thank you for introducing me to Mr. Smerconish.

    It seems to me that thinking before speaking’s usage would be to reduce or eliminate the emotion of the issue, to (hopefully) speak words that might bring peace or resolution. But really, I think this lies fundamentally with the human-mind’s propensity to demand a judgment about an issue. Certainly, when we hear news through media outlets they are all screaming that we must make our judgement. They are presented with a “there is this side, and there is that side” argument as though there are only two sides, negating the fact that every issue, every event, has a grand multiplicity of “sides” to it. Perhaps so many that we might even side nothing really has a true “side” at all.

    I think that you are correct in saying we need think before we speak. But I wonder if there is a greater maturity that we as human beings might reach. Think and speaking as one action, I think, i s a surefire way to tell that complete honesty and authenticity is being voiced. Now, if underlying that “honesty” and “authenticity” is information from dishonest, inauthentic “choose this side or that” sources, then the voices of the people, although perhaps honest, will be divisive and unintelligent (while we believe that our view is the “correct” one).

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