I’ve been wrestling with myself often recently, on a variety of subjects. Mostly with how to move forward in this political climate with my family and friends who voted for our President. Anyone who follows me personally on Facebook or Twitter knows where I stand, politically. I share things I find to be relevant, thought-provoking, and often-times infuriating. I still cannot fully wrap my mind around the fact that he is the one sitting in the White House scribbling his spiky, angry signature on executive orders.
Where my struggle lies is in expecting others to be as outraged as I am, as appalled, as afraid…. I have to remind myself that they are looking at the situation through a completely different lense than I am. They view things differently than I do because we have different priorities and biases.
Take my dad for example: He is wonderful. He’s the kind of guy who will drop everything to help someone out, then will also pay for lunch. He works hard, is funny, and loves his family. But, he’s a truck-driver. He listens to two types of things, during his hours-long stretches of drive time: audio books and right-wing radio. He is a conspiracy theorist, fed these random bits of paranoia by guys with voices of authority and knowledge.
These facets of my dad are strange. It’s not a combination you’d expect to find if you just talked with him for a bit on other subjects. He’s nice. Pretty normal. Until the subjects of politics, or Obama, or the huge foreign nameless banks which own America enters into the conversation.
Then, it’s difficult. He knows he is right—the radio show where he picked up whatever bit of info (aka conspiracy), had some scientist or author confirm it in their on-air discussion.
Take the Women’s March for example. My dad knew I was going, but didn’t say much about it, until today over breakfast.
He casually asked, “so how was that Sharia march?”
“Huh? Sharia what?” I asked, confused.
“You know, the march y’all did last weekend. It was started by a sharia group over there trying to convert more women to Sharia Law, but then all the American cities jumped on board and called it the ‘Women’s March'”.
He said this casually, as if it were fact. Old news.
I was shocked, then angry as I told him that was absolutely absurd and completely untrue.
He then moved on and asked how it went, was it peaceful, etc. All of the normal questions about a record-breaking women’s march. I was able to let it go and enjoy the rest of our time together.
That encounter has been sitting with me all day, a tickle at the back of my brain. I think it’s a good lesson for myself, and maybe others.
The lens through which you view life matters both understanding yourself, but also in our attempts to understand those around us.
To get through this year–this 4 years– we will need a lot of patience and love. We will need a lot of compassion and understanding; all of these we must be willing to show ourselves as well as to others.
I’ll end by asking you to listen to this song, which has been my favorite for months now: Black Eyed Peas Where is the Love?
Let the answer to that question be “inside us” and “between us”. Choose love, whenever possible, and together we will learn.