A truce for those whose ideal is equality and who therefore do not need to give equal weight to the views of anyone whose perspective differs; those who hold fast to tradition and so avoid revising any of their standards; and those who only care about themselves and expect to get what they want.
A truce for those who judge marriage by the shape of genitalia and not the content of hearts; those who will never marry but insist on determining who can; and those that believe marriage is an outdated institution but still try to catch the bouquet.
A truce for those that value sexual freedom so highly that future children are expendable; those who value human life so highly that they are willing to traumatise distressed girls to protect it; and those who reduce ethics to calculation and thus deem killing reasonable as long as the net benefits are positive.
A truce for those who find the greatest injustice in the fractional disparity between gender incomes among the wealthiest people on the planet; those who think headscarves are proof of oppression without the need to talk to those who wear them; and those who think gender issues are so old fashioned they no longer matter.
A truce for those that value animals so highly that they will persecute human animals to prove it; those that value vanity so highly that animals can be tortured to serve it; and those that think only human animals matter, but implicitly endorse the murder and torture of humans as long as someone has declared a ‘War on Something’.
A truce for those who cannot imagine God and therefore know that those who do are always misguided; those who know God’s mind so well that they can ignore whatever inconvenient advice He might have given them; and those who bite their tongue when God is mentioned because they can’t understand what all the fuss – on either side – is about.
A truce for those who declare the sky is falling and who twist the evidence in favour of panic; those that refuse to believe our glutinous guzzling of resources has a deleterious effect on the planet around us; and those that support the environment as long as they don’t have to give up their cars, planes and computers.
We are all fools in the eyes of our opponents, but we dismiss their judgement on the certainty that whomever doubts our perspicacity must be fools whose viewpoint doesn’t count. No wonder contemporary democracies cannot work! To be a faithful representative is to treat disagreement as evidence of idiocy. All politics is betrayal, at least while the electorate speaks in a baffling array of different tongues – even (especially!) when they speak the same language.
Instead, let us propose a truce. Let us return to the table and begin the jigsaw puzzle afresh on the belief – however fantastical – that there is a way to fit it all together, once the pieces have been properly sorted. The difficulty is no longer that we are surrounded by fools, but rather that we need to be positioned between similar fools if we ever hope to communicate. It was only when we tried to force pieces that could never fit to sit together that our problems seemed insurmountable. There is still hope – and, once again, it begins with a truce.
The opening image is Peace by Celeste Bergin, which I found on her website. As ever, no copyright infringement is intended and I will take the image down if asked.