The Unitarians and the Black Lives Matter Conflict

img_7457I wrote earlier (August 7) about the public stance on Black Lives Matter by the Unitarian Church across the street. They hung a vinyl sign along Concord Pike that continues to get slashed soon after a new one is put up. The Unitarians installed motion-detector lights on the posts and a message vowing to replace it as often as it takes. It’s getting nasty.

In the photo on the left, the defaced portion has been removed. It was a banner on the lower part of the V, similar to the one now hung above, out of reach.  The smaller, white sign stuck in the grass in the middle says:

To the vandals
who come in the night:
Every time you damage our banners we will replace them
AND we will make a donation to Black Lives Matter UU.
Each act of vandalism will
benefit the
Black Lives Matter cause.

Ha! Take that, vandals. In your face!  (To take the photo, I stood in Concord Pike with one eye looking out for oncoming traffic. Between the vandals destroying the sign and the church members repairing it, I never know what to expect to see.)

The main sign, in its original position, is easily defaced. Anyone walking along the sidewalk can reach out with a box-cutter and destroy it in a second. The Unitarians would need to hide someone in the bushes all night long with a camera to catch the vandals. The situation has gotten so ridiculous, they may be doing this now.

I have no strong feelings one way or the other on the issue, but I am fascinated by the development and progress of the conflict.  Like reading a novel, I want to see how it all turns out.

I know something about moral stands and resolving conflicts. While at Penn State, I became involved with the Quakers, and, more importantly, I have been married for over 55 years. Both experiences have made me an expert on conflict resolution.

I have learned conflicts easily get out of hand, dissolving into a battle ending with a self-satisfied winner and a bitter loser. The battle itself, who wins and who loses, overshadows the issues that started it all.

Anytime there would be a loser, the situation needs to be defused. Someone needs to back off.  A bitter loser will still be there when it’s over and will eventually return to battle.  Who is right no longer matters. Continuing to push what is thought to be the high moral stance only hardens everyone’s position and becomes counterproductive. In the Unitarian’s case, as long as they treat the vandals as the enemy, they will be the enemy, and will act like the enemy. The sign is clearly calling them sneaky cowards, yet these are the very people they need to reach out to. (See Directions to the Armorer, 6/26/2012)

Someone should figure out how to have no winners or losers before the conflict starts.

Unfortunately, the siren song of righteous indignation is intoxicating, and neither side is likely to back down once it starts. No one will seize the moral high ground.  (I used the plural for the vandals, but I suspect it is only one person.  The sign is a dozen feet from a bus stop where fast-food employees take the last bus back to Wilmington each night.)

About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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