The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Forrest Hershberger
View From The Handlebars 

Questions Not Being Answered

Sometimes Its All About Perspective

 

Several years ago, when I was just starting this adventure called community journalism, I was taking pictures at a gymnastics event. The picture turned out decent, but I was a little nervous about having the right contestant identified. It was during the meet so I couldn’t just walk up to her and ask her name.

Gymnastics is like golf at that point. There is a very revered process where an unusual sound or disruption in light could change the course of things. So I submitted said picture for publication, and if memory is working, I had the correct name.

Later, I was sharing my concern with her mother. She suggested something so obvious I didn’t think of it: turn the photo upside down so I could see the participant better. Change the perspective and change the outcome.

Fast forward a few years, I’m volunteering in a mentoring program. One of the exercises was called The Perspective Box. You have a problem, a challenge, call it what you wish. Visualize it on top of the box. If you don’t see the answer or way through from where you’re standing, change sides and take another look.

I admit then it felt a little quirky,even sideshow like. It felt like it was one of these pitches of “the answer is in you,” or “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Of course you don’t know. You had no reason to doubt your knowledge. Then, it occurred to me how narrowly focused many of us are. We see what we want to see, or what we think there is to see, and then miss what is going on around us. It is like hiking a narrow mountain trail, watching each footstep to prevent a fall, and missing the scenery around us. Trying so hard to stay on the path, we dismiss the reflections on the other side of the valley as minor issues. Some of those “minor issues” are the real influencers.

Politics on the national level could change today and still feed commentators and comics (if stand-up is still allowed at that point) into the next decade. People frequently asked why President Trump had such a huge following. The same could be said about President Biden. But how often are we asking the questions and expecting an answer of similar depth? When topics like border security, racial equality and even gun control are brought up, are we asking the questions that require a sincere answer, or just relying on the sound bite offered?

We should be concerned how so many issues appear to have been brought to the forefront at the same time, as if we’re all part of the “Skynet” system from the Terminator movies and became self-aware at the same time. It should get our attention that the checks and balances in our systems are more and more called evil, and those who call for the removal of these measures often walk above us, not among us.

There is this implication that we won’t make it as a society without these people who live on a higher level. We need to remember that is one thing that makes the American democratic republic unique from most anything else in the world. It is designed so that the common man can take his turn serving; then return to his occupation. It is not designed to

Maybe more of us need a few laps around the Perspective Box, enough laps to see we’ve been deceived in who can serve and who cannot. Maybe in looking at the Perspective Box, we need to ask ourselves if there is a puppet master, or “man behind the curtain,” and what his motivation is. We need to be willing to turn the picture until it makes sense, or at least until it is understandable.

 

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