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Monday, March 14, 2011

Mixed Motives: Love or Intimidation?

There have been occasions when I have puzzled over love and intimidation.  My parents never once in my life tried to intimidate me, though they loved me without question.  I have come to believe through the years that these concepts are mutually exclusive.  Where there is attempted intimidation there is no love, and where there is love there is no attempted intimidation.  Since this is my belief, what do I say about encounters that involve mixed motives?  Say, someone while professing love and concern does so in a way that can only be judged as intimidating—they have enough official documents on hand to make a lawyer blush; they have a full array of brass seated before you; they do all in their power to create the atmosphere of a disciplinary hearing.  Do we conclude that the expressions of love and concern are trumped by the need to elicit intimidation?  I think in fact we do.  Love gives way to making an indelible impression of power.  This is especially true if the brass in question has the least queasy feeling that insubordination has occurred.  Insubordination defined: refusing to obey orders or to submit to authority.  Insubordination by definition never occurred, but the feeling is enough to elicit a response.

Tonight Kathy and I went by Coney Island for chili dogs. I especially wanted to go this evening to celebrate being in America where intimidation is trumped by love.  We are all equal before God, and we all should act that way.  Staged intimidations in society we repeatedly find are being replaced by the informalities of love.  Informality, because of this very reason, is a keystone of the American character. I now and always will be a little suspicious when in the name of love an atmosphere of intimidation prevails.

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