My Peeps & Politics

The day that Donald Trump got elected as 45th president of the United States of America, I was in a study room in a university library in Temuco, Chile (South America). In a sense, I went crazy that day, at that moment. The things he had said, and the realities I knew my minority-member (non-white/non-heterosexual) friends lived, hit me with such raging force that I sat down in a hard desk chair and cried. The loco came when I lifted my head up and entered the social media world with a hard edge to my words, fingers clacking, and thoughts that hadn’t been there before.

Certain political issues are “hot-buttons” for folks from Left to Right on the political spectrum in the United States: Mr. Trump’s candidacy (and then presidency) triggered just about all of them. Gay rights, women’s rights, police violence, black liberation, etc. I believed (as I still do) that these issues are incredibly important in our shared life, but what I have realized is that they are not as important to me as having good days together. At the end of the day, they are just issues. Legislation that defends rights for LGBTQ+ people is not LGBTQ+ people. Support for a political servant who stands for the humane treatment of immigrants is not the immigrant we seek to defend. I want the system to change, I want good laws to be upheld, I want crooks out of office (to be clear). I am a Lefty, yep. That doesn’t matter half as much as the fact that I am a human.

It is important to me that we see and listen to one another, that however long the human species exists on this planet, we have good times together. I want people to not be alone more than I want stricter gun laws. Do I believe that stricter gun laws could reduce the number of violent deaths in our country? Absolutely. Others don’t. Neither of us have immediate control over whether or not gun laws change. What we do have control over is the quality of the energy that we put into the world, and the way that we treat one another. I want to feel comfortable hugging the people I work with–because of mutual care and attentiveness–(be she Republican, Democrat, White Supremacist, Libertarian, Socialist, Black Nationalist or other!) more than I want to convince someone else that marriage is for everybody.

I like a lot of people whose views I find dehumanizing, and contrary to my moral code, yet I want to be found continually inviting them into my life. Over certain dinners I have voiced my opinions, been rudely contradicted, and then seen the disagreer sink into shamed silence. That shame is not my responsibility, but neither do I want them to drown in it! I sure don’t want to be left to drown in my shame! Truth is, this place is better when we join hands in the face of shame. People will make their way through shame in their own way at their own pace. I’d rather we not have to make that journey alone. Regardless of beliefs or how we act on those beliefs, we all need one another (please accept that there are violent people, like some particularly in the media eye currently, who are best avoided).

In the face of the technological typhoon, we need to face the threat of isolation and overcome it with tolerance and radical peace-making.

The day Mr. Trump was elected I forgot that dogma is a closed door, and that it breeds conflict. In that moment I took life too seriously (Jesus’ words had taught me to look at the care-free birds), and let a desire to change people’s views (for the sake of other people) eclipse the true priority of loving those around me, and making peace (be it in person or through a screen).

On that day, when I heard the news (that I still perceive as horrible news–other people don’t perceive it that way….hey friends!) of Mr. Trump’s election my system shook off its foundation of unconditional, accepting, and compassionate Love that I had so fiercely constructed in my heart as a young girl. I hardened to hear that news and put up a shield. But shields are for defensive, combative living, and I am beginning to see (again) that I wasn’t made for such a lifestyle. My heart is aching with the weight of standing with a shield between myself and other people. The shield is too heavy.

I want to melt my shield down and turn it into a watering can. People are growing, they need water, not constriction. People are lonely, they need company, not a barrier. I believe that the ideals that lefties like myself stand for are about human rights. However, if we lose our ability to create and maintain healthy relationships, and to treat others with respect and dignity in daily life- social media INCLUDED–then we have lost the embodiment of the very ideals we fight for.

This is not an us-or-them universe, even when we feel put into a “them” category by family, co-workers, or friends (who side on the Left or Right). This is our home, this planet is where we belong, and we belong to each other. There is us, together, and either we will perish, or Love will win.

 

There is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness. That realization is true forgiveness. With forgiveness, your victim identity dissolves, and your true power emerges–the power of Presence. Instead of blaming the darkness, you bring in the light. ~Eckhart Tolle

Be messy. Be complicated. Show up. ~ Glennon Doyle Melton

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Fish Bowl

In two cultures I find myself a day to day observer. There is “A” where I make my money, there is “B” where I spend my money (and free time.) I am a fish out of water in both: uncomfortable, tortured by the screaming discrepancy.

A) West side. Big brick houses, private Utopias bursting with full-bellied babies. Laughing and playing on Ipads, eating fruits and vegetables. The mommys and daddys do their work and keep their lives pristine. They buy their kids a car at 16, a college experience at 18. Lawns are well-manicured, separating one family’s space from the neighbor’s. They are healthy; one generation looks no different from the last. Ray Bans. Religion. Restaurants. The ideal world in which to raise children.

B) Pockets of people in “project” housing. Hundreds of apartments with paper thin walls. A concrete maze winds through the community yard, littered with trash. Kids fly in and out of doors, living with Grandma and Great-Grandma and an uncle or two, never safe from gunshots, rape, or coarse language. There are no daddys. Mama is the rock but she was only a child when she got pregnant; she never had a chance to learn life for herself. They are surviving, one generation looks no different from the last. Potato chips. Pickles. Perverts. No place at all to raise a child.

If the traffic is light it will take twenty minutes to get from A to B. Yet no one ever does. To each, the reality of the other is unreal. People don’t actually live like that, they both say.
I bang my head against a glass wall, a fish seeking to break the barrier betwixt water and air, trying to alert one to the other. We have so much to learn from each other! I’m met with blank stares, emotionally detached well-wishes, sometimes disbelief, apparent apathy.
Quick to denounce what the government is doing, slow to confront the oppression.
The difference between my morning world and my afternoon world, separated only by a quarter tank of gas, is startling. Sometimes I forget it is real. I see how easily ignored that which we abhor can be.
How will we change this? How do I wrap up a blog post about issues I don’t know how to solve?
Today I am a learner. Tomorrow I hope to see things change. One has to come before the other so absorb all that you see, drive a little farther South than you normally do, spare some care, enact the change.