Whenever I spoke to coaches while I was teaching, I was struck how their particular field affected their mindset in other areas. Every game, every sport, they’re faced with a binary decision: their team either won the game or they lost.
There was no middle ground, and that often played into their classroom time. A student’s work was either right or wrong, their behavior was either acceptable or not. Not much room for middle ground or “do-overs.”
This strict approach is increasingly out of place in a world of compromise. And certainly there are areas where compromise is necessary, starting with politics. As both sides grow increasingly extreme in their views, the only way to make any headway on the nation’s challenges will be through compromise.
There’s likely to be no compromise where Israel and Hamas are concerned. Despite years of one-sided diplomacy and concessions the butchers of Gaza have remained more certain than ever to engage Israel and draw their own civilians into a bloody conflict.
The Israelis are now at their own binary decision, and rightfully so. In each previous provocation, they have tried to avoid innocent civilian casualties when they struck back. It’s pretty obvious the terms “innocent” and “civilian” don’t really apply to the vast majority of those living in Gaza.
No doubt the gray area types here and around the world will preach appeasement yet again. I think this time Israel has reached the point where the post-Holocaust phrase “never again” has taken new meaning.
As for us, maybe we need more Tom Hybls in the diplomatic corps.