Guy Page: Listen

By Guy Page

America sucks at listening.

My America. Your America. “Their” America. Me. You. Black. White. Liberal. Conservative. Poor. Rich. We’re suffering a full-blown pandemic of willful deafness. The connections between the ear and the heart no longer fire. Our collective, national spiritual dopamine is awry. Is it any wonder that like a Parkinson’s sufferer, America is rigid and shaking at the same time?

Social media is no cure. Sometimes it’s as conducive to give-and-take discussion as Techno music in a nightclub. This week my Facebook page featured a heated, two-day discussion among six Vermont “public figures” of middling stature – three media types, a think tank driver, a former state senator, and a House hopeful. It started with a dispute about whether the New York Times has a liberal bias. It descended into acrimony and attacks and no real listening. No consensus was reached, obviously. It ended abruptly when one member left the convo after angrily advising the others to seek God’s forgiveness for lying.

Not a Kumbiyah moment.

Real-life gatherings don’t necessarily stimulate listening, at least the two-way variety. Sunday afternoon the organizer of a police brutality protest urged black people only to speak at an open mic. When I asked her whether white people would be welcome, she shook her head and said black people have been silenced and this is a time for them to speak to the large audience which included many white people.

Guy Page

Not surprisingly, my story about this policy created some social media backlash, and also prompted a reporter (not me) to ask Gov. Phil Scott a “shoe on the other foot” question at his press conference yesterday: would he object to a rally at which black people were not allowed to speak?

For the record Gov. Scott expressed unawareness about the black-speakers only policy. He opined that everyone should be permitted to speak.

I have an opinion, too: I’m okay with a situational black-only speaking policy, as long as it doesn’t become an expectation and a trend. White people could benefit to listen when black people speak. And vice-versa. Listening costs no-one – black or white – anything. It does not threaten us to listen. Neither our voice or value are diminished. Listening is the miracle that empowers both speaker and listener at the same time. Besides, if no one will listen, what’s the point of free speech? The Founders wrote the First Amendment in the finger-crossed hope that when Americans spoke, other Americans would listen.

What can white people learn from listening to black people?

We won’t know until we try. But for starters, we might develop a more powerful emotional opposition to  police brutality of blacks. Just like that debate about the New York Times, for white folks it’s not personal. None of the six debaters had ever worked for the Gray Lady. And few white people have lived with the chronic fear of losing a child to police-on-black violence. Let us white folks admit we can’t understand this quite as deeply as a black parent. We don’t know what we cannot know.

At George Floyd’s funeral Tuesday, Rev. Al Sharpton quoted St. Paul urging the Ephesians to “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day.” Well, Rev. Al and everyone else including Pres. Trump, here’s another Bible verse for you. James the brother of Jesus wrote: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”

The angry word, the knee to the neck, the firebomb thrown, the small business owner’s dream destroyed, and the grieving mother’s wail most often could have been avoided if someone, somewhere, somehow had listened. Considered. Empathized. Maybe even prayed – perhaps for forgiveness. And only then spoken bold truth in love.

I’m a hypocrite to preach this way, of course. Deep down I want people to listen to me. What reporter doesn’t?

If you already think me a fool, I will continue in my foolishness: black people need to listen, too. To whom, about what? I recommend former President Barack Obama who on Father’s Day, 2018 preached to a predominantly black church what he practiced in real life – being a responsible father:  “If we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing — missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it. You and I know how true this is in the African-American community. We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households, a number that has doubled — doubled — since we were children.”

But I’m getting ahead of myself, telling black people what I think they need to hear. I need to listen. Last night Ignite Church in Williston held an outdoor Reconciliation Service billed as “a gathering of worship, prayer, solidarity & healing.” Attendees were urged to “bring a chair and hear from local black voices from around the region.”

I couldn’t attend. I don’t know how it went. Better than my Facebook debate, I hope! But I hope to report about it soon. And maybe that Facebook I-hope-not-former-friend of mine had a good idea. Maybe we do need to ask forgiveness, at least for not following James’ advice. And then show we mean it by listening better. Maybe what Derek Chauvin and Antifa meant for evil, a fellowship of listeners can turn to good.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

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20 thoughts on “Guy Page: Listen

  1. People aren’t rioting, they are fighting for their freedom which they don’t have if they are living in fear of their own government.
    They are getting the political class to do something. Decades of complaining didn’t get anything done.

    Burn down the rich mans property and he will also want change.

    • ‘Burn down the rich man’s property’?

      What a simple-minded person you are. Burn down the wrong property and you’d best enter the witness protection program.

        • ha ha ha

          Anarchist advocating “justice system”. Frontier justice will prevail and incarceration become moot.

          Re-institute chain gangs for those offenders who survive, and apply their energy to cleaning up and rebuilding. How’s that for tough love and justice?!

  2. “Born on 3rd Base”
    Gerald Celente is on you-tube and uses that term often. He grew up in the Bronx.

    I’m sure Dennis Prager is good at preaching to the Fox News groupies and telling them what they want to hear. I got out of high school during the Jimmy Carter Great Depression and didn’t vote for a democrat until the republicans proved how fake they where by burning Ron Paul and giving the nomination to RINO Romney.

    Paul Ryan an his groupies voted to defund Obama-care over 50 times but never once tried to shut down the Federal department of education. The small government republicans passed Medicare Part-D drugs of seniors. Nixon signed the EPA & OSHA into law.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3Tyj0AQu0o

    Amy Goodman’s sister in law Sue Minter ran for Governor of VT.

    Donald Trump is at you-tube talking to Phil Donahue about rent control.

    The interstates & shipping container killed jobs in American. The rust belt wasn’t confined to just the great lakes states. Come down here to Springfield VT an see the crumbling factories. I grew up down the flatlands, The Valley in CT was part of the rust belt days. I drove a truck all over the country and lots of New York metro area. The burned out cars lined the Cross Bronx Expressway.

    The internet could be educational to people opened minded enough to learn instead of being lazy and listening to the same old broken record that backs up the propaganda they have been feed for decades.

    • Are you old enough to remember the sh**hole that was NYC of the 1970s with its “rent control”?
      Properties were allowed to fall apart for lack of maintenance.
      Be real careful what you ask for. The “Rent Strikes” that have been proposed will precipitate the same thing worser and quicker, and bring about nationwide hell..

  3. ” too many fathers also are is missing ”

    Same old sound bite.

    https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/netcomp.cgi?year=2018

    Half the population makes less than $30k and most of the people with good jobs got them threw social connections an nepotism. Now called white privilege. The good old boy network run by inner circle white people hooks up friends & relatives. White people use buzz words like entry level job to describe dead end bottom feeder jobs labor racketeers use to exploit disenfranchised people.

    Most old white people have their minds so made up nothing will penetrate. They believe in all sorts of wild myths, folk lore and fairy tales.

    • You certainly do worry a lot about white people John. I suggest you start thinking seriously about why, with all the special programs available, non-white people are so enthralled with rioting, looting and tearing things down. Why should we give a hoot about black lives, when the biggest threat to those lives are other blacks?

    • I posted this further down the page but here it is again just in case:

      Ever heard of Dennis Prager? I suggest a web search using just the name to learn just how much you have to learn.

  4. Their is a quiet voice we might do well to listen to.

    Is we listen and watch what is going on in our state, we too will see the same things. We don’t have racism, because we’re all white. My neighbor caught in this quick sand they can’t escape has the same color skin as me. He’s caught in the same trap though.

    Al Sharpton, the armor of God…..what about the sword? Come on Al talk about the sword! The sword that has more power than a nuclear bomb, that standing armies can’t defeat that entire countries ban it and put people in prison for life should it ever enter there country.

    What about this sword? What about the sword of God? What is it?

    It’s his word.

    His word can bring about a new change, a change of heart. A new spirit, should you be so blessed to cozy up to the word, to spend time, cherish, demonstrate a love for brings about a new spirit. And what does this spirit bring?

    Love, Joy and Peace. This is the foundation of our country, but a taste of the fruits. This would heal the nation, forgiveness, a better understanding a loving our neighbor (notice there are no qualifications to which neighbor)

    Yes, there is a reason why dictators hate the Holy Bible, there is a reason it’s despised by the NWO pimps, it’s Kryptonite for them, it’s healing, freedom and love for Americans, we only need to embrace these truths for the healing to start.

    To God be the Glory.

    • The word does not conform to our political beliefs or what we decide it means – means what the author says it means. Pls read Good Samaritan – very specific as to who ‘our neighbor’ is – it’s not political parties *sigh*

  5. Guy, you are correct ” No One Is Listening ” and I know why !!

    We are sick of the rhetoric, no substance, irrational talking points with
    with a one-sided agenda and if you’re not supporting that agenda well
    we know how that ends.

    The standard scenario today, you can scream at me, I won’t listen and if
    you don’t want my input, well we are done !! Threats, you might want to
    think that one over……

    My America surely isn’t leaning left, and they won’t listen……Oh well, I win
    they lose.

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