It’s all a matter of perspective

By Contributing Writer, Terry Pettee

And the moral of the story: It’s all a matter of perspective.

So, what is the story?


Did you hear about the snail that was mugged by a band of marauding turtles?

He rushed to the animal police station to report the crime.

“When did it happen?” The fast talking, lively animated chipmunk police officer asked wanting to quickly get on the trail of the villainous turtles.

“About a week ago.” Answered the snail. “I got here as fast as I could.”

A bit peeved that the tell-tale-trail of thieving turtles was now stone-cold, officer chipmunk reasoned the only thing he could do now, was get all the details.

“Well, tell me what happened.” Officer chipmunk asked sounding exasperated.

“I don’t know,” answered the snail, “it happened so fast.”  

And the moral of the story: It’s all a matter of perspective.

I often told that story when things got a little too tense in collective bargaining.  For more than 30 years I negotiated labor agreements and worked through labor disputes.  The idea behind telling that story was to bring things into perspective.  The reality was, management and labor, saw the issues from different perspectives.  

Different perspectives are not always a matter of right or wrong, fair or unfair, wise or foolish.  They were just different perspectives.

Respecting another person’s perspective is the first step toward resolving a problem.

There was another story I often told.  This story is true, not anecdotal, but still offers an important truth about perspective.

When I was a junior at Eastern Michigan University the professors went on strike.  The university post graduate students replaced the striking professors and the educational system rolled on.

My senior year the maintenance staff went on strike.  Within two weeks the campus and dormitory restrooms were toxic and the trash overflowed in tsunamic proportion and the university educational system screeched to a halt.

What is the point?

There are an inestimable number of roles in life and in society.  Some are esteemed more.  Some are more vital to keeping the wheels of progress rolling.  All are significant and all are important.  

Respecting another person is just as important as respecting their perspective.

Our country is as divided now as it was during the Civil War and the Reconstruction Period.  

I suppose we could say we are entrenched in an Uncivil War.

There was a time when it was customary for a defeated general to surrender his sword to his triumphant opponent.  At the Civil War’s end, Union General Ulysses S. Grant declined the sword offered by defeated Confederate General Robert E. Lee.  It was a token gesture on both general’s part.  The gesture conveyed mutual respect.  It also represented the first step toward reuniting a fractured nation.

Battle lines are drawn in America today.  

The weapons delivering scaring wounds are cruel words, distortion of the truth and character assassination.  

Rocks and bottles have replaced bullets and cannon balls.  

The battlefield is the social media and the public media and the digital media.

The casualties are not soldiers in uniform but uniformed peace officers and many civilians.

The plunder of this Uncivil War comes from the markets, shops and businesses of hard working Americans who labored long and hard to achieve the American dream of a better life for themselves and their families.  Even America’s educational institutions and public buildings, erected for advancing and protecting our culture, are being damaged.

Perhaps the saddest commentary is that those in public leadership, who should set the example of civility, make no effort to respect the perspective of those who think differently.  Nor do they show any sign of respecting the person who holds a different perspective.

America is at a crisis point of perspective.

And the moral of the story:  

What perspective will prevail in America’s Uncivil War?


Terry Pettee is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University where his undergraduate study prepared him for a career in secondary education. Prior to attending EMU, he was Editor-In-Chief of the Erie Square Gazette while a student at the St. Clair County Community College. Between his community college and university years he was Marysville Editor of the St. Clair County Independent Press where he was a newspaper reporter and columnist. After a brief teaching stint his life’s journey led him into human resource and industrial relations management; a career spanning four decades. Now retired, Terry writes both Christian value based fiction and non-fiction for his own amusement, which is babble-speak for saying he has only a single published book to his credit.

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Disclaimer: Blue Water Healthy Living is an online magazine located in Port Huron, Michigan. Our purpose is to promote healthy living by showcasing the Blue Water Area, its people, issues and surroundings. This online magazine is devoted to providing healthy living related stories, local happenings, and commentary. Often inspiring and uplifting, our stories come from our heart and soul to promote the enjoyment of a more fulfilling Blue Water Area lifestyle. The material on this web site is provided for informational and amusement purposes only and is not to be confused with any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions and values of Blue Water Healthy Living.

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