Thursday, September 29, 2016

Thoughts on The Morning After

My sister and I grew up in the same household, with the same parents.  As we moved a lot as kids we were best buddies, a constant as everything around us changed.  We share the basic morals, religious beliefs, intelligence level, work ethic and sense of humor.  She has always identified as liberal and I as a conservative.  Interesting.  Especially given the political climate of the day. We still see pretty much eye to eye on things even today, even in this climate.

"You? a conservative?" I have had friends say.

Well, let's review issues- Guns? I was taught marksmanship and gun safety from my NRA range master dad. Do I believe in background checks? Yes.  Do I actually own a gun? no. Religion? I am a professed Christian, though seemingly a belief in any deity these days seems to make you a fundamentalist of the worse flavor. Am I intolerant of others religions? no. Do I think there is a God shaped hole in man that needs to be filled? yes. Sexuality? I am the most boring creature - a monogamous married white woman. Do I think it is any of my business who anyone else has in their bed? no.  Do I think people should be in non-abusive, committed relationships? yes.  Abortion? Do I believe life begins at conception? yes.  Have I had an abortion? yes. (I had an ectopic pregnancy between my two children and had to go through a procedure to stop the growth of an unseen, never found baby that certainly was not in my uterus. Not fun.) Employment? Do I believe there is dignity in work? yes Even washing dishes or manual labor? yes (I have done both.) Do I think people need safety nets for hard times? yes Do I think a vast amount of one's personal problems can be solved by working hard? yes

"Doesn't sound that conservative to me." other friends say.

Maybe the point is labels aren't doing us any favors in today's issues driven world. I don't vote according to a single plank in any political platform.  I have long quit saying liberal or conservative and have wanted to be considered a moderate. A moderate sounds so wishy-washy though.  I am not neutral with no beliefs, opinions or passions. Whether you agree with anything I have told you about myself or not doesn't change who I am or what I am passionate about.  My God, my family, my friends, my art.

Never has there been two candidates more reviled in modern political history. Their respective champions are quite passionate in their support. Or are they as much for one person as against the other? My concern is that passion seems to be the excuse that precludes civility today.  

It reminds me of when you go to that office party and people have too much to drink and dance with lampshades on their heads or people jump in bed together that shouldn't have or someone was just really mean about some one's weight or bad breath or spouse.  And then Monday comes and we have to face each other across the conference table. You can't take back words, or lying or bullying or influence peddling or philandering or name calling or character assassinations.

My pastor at church uses a wonderful analogy of hateful words being like a nail in a board.  You can apologize, pull the nail out, but the hole from the nail is still there. It's not going away.  The barrage of hateful words is like a shotgun blast through a door. What will be left of it? Or us?

Will we be left standing or even speaking to each other after this is all over? How are we going to look each other in the eye, let alone work together to do the best we can for our families, our friends, our country, our planet?  I am frightened about the now and about the next.

That classic motivational speaker Zig Ziglar used to say that "People don't change their minds, they make new decisions based on new information."  One of my wise in-laws said "Actions speak louder than words." in defence of her candidate. (Makes you wonder who she is voting for, doesn't it?)

It is my sincere hope that we all can set aside our preconceptions and prejudices and gut revulsions to listen, study and watch as this election cycle unfolds and no matter what happens, wake up the next day and do what is best for our country. We need to. We must.  Will it be possible to shake hands and get to work together the morning after?

I think you have to be bold about truth telling. Staying true to yourself by speaking aloud is never bad. Is it bad for a corporation or a professional to not enter into possibly divisive discussion? Or is it a sin NOT to? In my business I have always tried to be a haven, a place of respite, and because of that know that I have been a solace to many. This country was founded as a refuge of freedom and self -expression. But that feels jeopardized today to me.