Sunday, November 13, 2016

Common ground

So.  You've said some things, I've said some things...

I don't know.  Maybe it's too soon?  Maybe the anger on both sides is too raw to try and have a heartfelt conversation?  Maybe the wounds are so deep and jagged that we need to retreat and tend to them before we can exercise those relationship muscles again?

I don't know.

I don't know how it all got so ugly.  You are my friend.  My family.  Someone I've trusted and admired, laughed with and cried with.  And then so many people rushed in:  political surrogates, pundits, activists.  They all told us what they wanted us to believe.  Some of it was true.  Some of it wasn't.  A lot of it preyed on our fears.  For some, it stoked the fires of anger and hate - anger and hate of all political stripes.  Sadly, there is enough to go around.

But I just don't know.  I don't know where to go from here.  I want to offer my hand, to grab yours and squeeze it tight and say "this is all going to be OK."  It has to be OK, right?  And I don't mean politically.  You may have loved Clinton or loathed her.  We all know what I thought about Trump.  But it is what it is.  Despite all my misgivings, he is going to be our president.  It's done.  And unless my wildest, darkest nightmares play out I don't think he will single-handedly unravel the fabric of America in four years.  But that's not what I mean, I don't mean politics or policy.  I'm not talking about trade agreements, tax plans or infrastructure.  Those things are meaningful, don't get me wrong.   But it's not what I'm talking about.

I don't know how to say this in a way that won't sound....  harsh?  Maybe that doesn't matter, so I'm just going to say it:  Things are not OK, and it seems like you can't see it, or don't want to see it, or simply steadfastly refuse to see it.  There are vast divisions in this country - but they aren't between you and me.  They are between the marginalized and those that choose to actively marginalize.  It's real.  It's happening.  It's the chasm between the single black mother of two young boys and the bigot who sprawls "get out nigger" on her car.  It's the disconnect between the young, independent woman walking down the street and the males who promise to "grab her by the pussy" as they drive by in their car.  It's the incongruence of Christ's church, obliged to serve as His hands and feet, standing mute before their defaced sanctuaries, marred with words and symbols that could only be from the devil himself.

I don't know how it's possible for us to disagree on the wickedness of these things.  Is it possible?  Or can we at least look each other in the eye and say "of course these things are wrong?"  How can we not find this sliver of common ground?  It's such a small stretch of green but there's room enough here for both of us - for all of us.  Surely, surely we can lock arms and stand together in our intolerance for things such as these.  Can't we?  I'm not sure I can bear the thought if we can't.

I don't know how our government will unfold in the coming weeks, months, or years.  We have all had the chance to say our piece and we have elected the men and women that we are entrusting to do right by all of us for the next four years.  But we have to make sure that we are not leaving anyone behind  - the ones who are targets because they are different from the cowards who persecute them, the ones who are belittled because of their faith or their gender, the ones whose pleas are drowned out by the din of angry voices who shout only for their own interests.

I don't know.  I don't know how we do it, how we make sure that no one is lost along the way.

But I know we must.

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