The New American Way

Imagine you invested your life in a failing effort. And I mean big, big risk, big effort, big flop. Now on top of that pain and humiliation, add a nation of 70 million people posting ridiculing videos, jokes, tweets, facebook posts, songs, famous personalities come out as “for” or “against” you.

Imagine you are President Trump, sitting by yourself on a sofa, eating a whole half gallon of icecream. That’s what I would do. Lets face it. He must be feeling terrible. 

We see school shooters and study in earnest how these people became lost souls.

One thing that shooters share is the sense they have been humiliated when they are down. We can see in their lives, wholesale rejection, a sense of being shot to the moon on a rocket of persecution. 

I think it’s only fair to say we are creating something much worse than what we’ve seen so far. If youmake a hilarious video ridiculing Trump and his supporters, I think it is important to stop and consider. What future do you want for our country? 

I heard a friend talking about their shock after the election, reading the posts on facebook that lamented the outcome of the election. People saying viscous and biting things, promoting scandals that have been disproved in courts of law. My friend admitted to unfriending these people. 

While I know this has become the American way, and is seen as compassionate rather than attacking someone for their beliefs, there must become a new American way. 

We created Donald Trump with our inability to listen to each other and truly address the ails of our country. If we wish to be promoting equality and a world view, we must listen to the pains that our friends and family experience as the cost of those ideals.

There has to be space for the voices of everyone, or the dreams of equality are illegitimate. We are ready to march for black rights, latino rights, but not uneducated white rights. We are willing to lie down before a bulldozer to save trees, but not willing to educate those who live off the harvesting of these beautiful ancient beings. 

We need to see we are capable of having a conversation. We are capable of understanding that someone could in fact be so frightened as to carry beliefs we don’t understand yet. We can expand, we can become the person who heals this divide, and ends this uncivil war.

The New Unity

I can walk down the street confidently, waving to all my neighbors equally, calm, smiling, saying hello to each.

I realized, the day of the inauguration, that as I walked and waved, I could see some neighbors were elated and bubbly. Some were subdued, quiet, unsmiling.

And I realized, I could see it, all around me. The blatant showing of which of us stood where, politically. This unmentionable topic, which keeps us raging on facebook and silent in our community.

I swallowed my eager, “Gosh isn’t today just the best day! Don’t you feel great? I am so optimistic!” I might offend. The other fifty percent is right there, in my neighborhood, and conversation over the lines is simply verboten.

Who talks politics? The people who are in a room with one type of person. We complain to our own kind. We share victories with our own kind. There isn’t space for more, yet.

We have to create that space. We are the leaders, at the grassroots level, who need to be willing to step into that uncertain place. To listen to our neighbors rant, have faith that there is more in the world than my view. I need to look thoughtful, and try to find some kind of tolerance. 

If we meet our neighbor from the opposite side of the aisle, and allow them to speak and hold our judgement for even ten minutes, a fascinating thing happens. 

All that nastiness online suddenly appears as what it is. Undisciplined disrespect. It is the rant of wild children. The most intellectual of it renders itself petty and childish.

I listen to the news and am suddenly aware of how it would offend my neighbor. Even powerful news media I have relied on for their impartiality, now discuss the facts of the days news and regress into emotional judgement, excluding fifty percent of the population.

How can we be united? 

We must allow that we can end the uncivil war.

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