Many of us are cheering in the streets, the woods, the cities–Joe Biden is the 46th President of the United States!
Many of us are grumbling and angry in the small towns, the meadows, rural outposts–fraud, lies, chicanery, Trump has been deceitfully swindled from his rightful office!
Others of us are decrying politics altogether.
It seems a world filled with division, upset and fear. Rage, irritation, resentment. Neither side seems to understand or resonate with the other. You’re either red or blue, not shades of multiplicity.
I’m not immune to any of this. I make questionable outrageous statements to friends and family claiming my views. My poor mom in assisted living has to listen to Kathy proclaiming this and that during many of our daily talks.
On Facebook you meet the rush of humanity gloating, taunting, agonizing and fuming.
I don’t like to do this publicly. It feels like a slap in the face to my neighbors and family who think and feel differently. It feels like…I am sucker-punching my own self somehow. It feels like a betrayal of love. (Even though others feel like NOT speaking out is a betrayal of a greater love and I totally get and respect this viewpoint, too.)
I grew up in a Republican home in the Thumb of Michigan. My parents owned a small business. Most of the people we knew identified as Republican.
In sixth grade we learned about politics and I excitedly campaigned for Richard Nixon. “This time vote like your whole world depended upon it.” We distributed Nixon stickers around town. It was great fun!
I didn’t have a clue about anything Nixon represented. It was simply a familial and community movement…go, Nixon, go Republicans, rah, rah, rah!
Then came college. I studied. Learned about the underprivileged, the poor, the downtrodden, the environment. My heart kept expanding larger and larger to embrace not just the family and country–but the entire world.
Soon it became obvious that the Democrats more closely aligned with my new values.
I came home from college and argued politics with my dad.
He smiled at me: “Kathy, this is what happens when you go to college sometimes. Give it a few years–you’ll calm down and see things in a different perspective.”
We moved to the Upper Peninsula and I decided to run for township treasurer in our small rural township.
You need to declare a party upon running–I boldly checked “Democrat” and began campaigning. By some struck of luck won the race and started on my thirty-two year political career. (Am grinning–I still do not identify as a politician even after all those years.)
Slowly, over the years our mostly Democrat board changed to Republican. The newer board called me a “tree hugger” more than once when environmental concerns arose. Mostly it seemed with a fond but resigned sigh. I spoke assertively and publicly about my views when necessary, never really enjoying it, but feeling an obligation to share this heart’s truth in as loving way as possible.
I could write an entire blog about why I am glad Joe Biden won this election. How I am hopeful about a new direction for this country.
That is all true–but something always interests me more than my own dualistic opinions.
Last night in the middle of the night I suddenly remembered the little Kathy-Republican-for-Nixon. Recalled my parents, brothers, other families still living in the Thumb of Michigan. Thought about my social liberal tendencies, and conservative financial aims. Thought about how things are not always black or white: we can hold a variety of viewpoints within a single human being.
And realized with a start that I am not solely a Democrat–as I have thought all these years. I am a Democrat-Republican. I can feel both energies within this body.
This jolt changes something inside, something that can’t yet be articulated.
Until now there’s been a silent interior fight that put Democrats and Republicans at odds–in the same way they’re at odds in the outer physical world.
This morning there’s a recognition that love can embrace both. Because I am both in some inexplicable way. And this has nothing to do with my vote for Biden and love of democratic values.
“Dad, thank you,” I whisper to my father, gone almost five years now. “You were right. In a few years I’ll see the world with a different perspective. Just not the one you might have thought!”
This heart feels both joy for Biden’s victory and sadness for the Republicans who are grieving. Simultaneously.
It’s a mystery.
I don’t know if this will change anything externally for me, but there is a peace rising up from the stomach and softly settling around the heart.
I wonder if this is how God holds the world. Holds everything in love, knowing He is in everything.
It’s a little scary for me to write this because I don’t want to see anyone arguing in the comments. Or being triggered. Or missing the point: this is about seeing a larger viewpoint without denying or minimizing our individuality, without denying our celebration or sorrow about the election. (But if this is misunderstood–another opportunity for me to sit with muddled feelings and try to express this differently on another golden day.)
Blessings to all of us–no matter what our political opinions. And may we learn to keep our hearts open to what often looks like an opposite duality. Sensing that perhaps we are larger and wider than we can even imagine.
Day 22 of a seventy-five day journey to connect more deeply with God, Spirit, Holy, Love…to explore “What the Heart Knows” during the waning days of 2020.
the individual can NEVER be ONLY what the disease of perception decides, AND we do share commonalities, it’s a mystery!
You are right, Elisa. The individual is so much more than perception can even begin to glimpse. Honoring the mystery with you.
I feel the same, Kathy. I feel sorry for that little boy inside the big Donald who believes he is being tricked – and if firmly set on this.
Thank you, Leelah, it’s good to hear from someone else that resonates. I often think about the little ones in all of us and how hurt and afraid they can be. It feels like true healing can come when we acknowledge and learn to love those wee ones.
I love this blog, and how it defines, if “defines” can even be used here, how I have long thought that all of us have both Democrat and Republican commonalities. We truly are Democrat Republicans. A friend and I were just discussing this .. she’s a Democrat; I’m a Republican … yet we agree politically on almost everything and vote both sides of the ticket. I think that the fringe elements of both parties are the ones who capture the headlines. You’re either far to the left or far to the right. No, Nay! I believe that most of us fall in between and are far more alike than we sometimes think, or are told, preached to. Sigh … and it gives me hope, lots of hope. Thank you so much for this today!
Susan, you were one of the first people who helped me to crack open to seeing Republicans differently, rather than through the lens of my own perceptions and opinions. You and I have often talked about how similar we are, rather than different, even though we each identify with another political party. So glad this spoke to you. It was hard to write and find a way to say all this.
I had saved this quote a few days ago! It came from Rob Brezsny’s news letter.
I’m not sure it exactly fits into what you are saying today yet it resonates with your commitment to posting your voice, your experience whether accepted or understood.
After I let go of my post this morning on FB and Insta, the whole time during my shower I kept rethinking what I sent out into the world. Yet I stand by those words or I would not have written them or shared them.
THE SPIRITUAL IS POLITICAL. THE POLITICAL IS SPIRITUAL.
“A spirituality that is only private and self-absorbed, one devoid of an
authentic political and social consciousness, does little to halt the suicidal
juggernaut of history.
“On the other hand, an activism that is not purified by profound spiritual
and psychological self-awareness … will only perpetuate the problem it is
trying to solve, however righteous its intentions.”
Jeff, it sounds like Andrew Harvey is pointing toward both sides of the coin of being human. That we are spiritual and political creatures, and each need the other. Thank you for sharing that quote.
My mother used to tell us that we needed the two parties for balance, to keep each other from swinging too far to the left or too far to the right. (I think she would be called a moderate these days.) The older I get the more wisdom I see in that. But I am so relieved that Trump is history because he has broken more than a few laws, and thinks he is above the law, and that has nothing at all to do with his political philosophy, if he even had/has one.
How wise your mother was, Barbara! I have often thought something similar, and wondered if that is why we swing from one persuasion to its opposite on a national front. We get too far to the left, and move too far the right. Kind of like a balancing act is being done, perhaps, if viewed from a larger perspective. Thank you for this.
I think the color for 2021 should be purple. Hugs to you, you are enabling so many people to see outside their own partisan box, and that’s important.
Dawn, now that’s a thought: the color purple! I did hope that my story might help others see out of their political boxes. It helped me see out of mine. Am spending a lot of time today pondering what this might actually practically mean.
My first awareness of politics was when Kennedy ran against Nixon. My dad, a union man from a humble and poor family, was a Democrat. My mom, the daughter of privilege – a banker father and a socialite mother – was a Republican. They politely argued with one another during the campaign. Over the years, my mom – like you Kathy – became more Democrat than Republican.
I am sensing a strong current of energy to end the polarization and divisiveness. I’m not in denial about the continuing realities but this morning, the woman who is the step-mother of my nephew, who was a die-hard Trumper, shared a graphic. “Not Republican, Not Democrat – American.” We should be able, like my parents those long years ago, to disagree politely. Go go forward after an election without calling one side enemies. Unity in Diversity – the common good prevailing. A better day. I am glad we’ve not normalized name-calling, belittling and provoking violence. Let’s hope that continues to be our collective preference.
Deb, I hope that strong current of energy succeeds in bringing people back together. It’s been so painful to feel such a divide. I saw that meme on Facebook, too, and appreciated it. It feels like I have a lot of work to do…to be able to listen to those who are on totally opposite ends of the spectrum, especially when my own system gets triggered by their anger. I have admired watching you listen to others who think differently. Sometimes it’s easy to listen and empathize, other times not so much. Especially with followers of QAnon and other conspiracy theories.
Simply brilliantly written. 😊 I too am a mix. As I like to say, both sides want my vote and money … Other than that, they have no interest in me.
Thank you, Frank! This was a hard one to write. I should have put on some of that beach music to soothe the soul while attempting this!
I imagine very hard … especially as you were trying to be fair … and you were!
I have always been an “independent” voter. As a young woman, I figured I have a mind of my own and don’t need to be told what to think and so never claimed a party. I, like you, do not agree politically with most of my family and those in my home city. I was one of the poor of whom you speak, and what I saw was different from what you saw. In more conservative candidates, I saw a spirit of independence and self-reliance, and the ability and opportunity to rise above my station. To me, liberals offered dependence, and I wanted to be free of strings. I wanted to forge my own path out of poverty through education and determination and Independence. It felt like conservatives didn’t see me as a poor person in need of a handout, but a person in need of an opportunity.
That said, I have voted for candidates in many parties because no single party encompasses everything I value.
The only thing I feel I can do right now, is pray for our leaders – all.of them – to maintain the integrity of what it means to be American, to make wise choices for the people, and to set aside differences.
Stacy, I suspect I would have identified more as an independent if I hadn’t had to declare a party because have voted for folks on both sides of the spectrum over the years, too. You actually are reminding me of my dad right now. He grew up poor and also prized “pulling himself up by his bootsprings”. He didn’t really like the more liberal “handouts” as he called them. And he did do the same as you–make his way out of poverty through education and determination. He made us read Horatio Alger stories when we were kids. I don’t think there are any easy answers, but praying for our leaders sounds like what we can give this polarized world. Thank you!
My daughter has used The Pedagogy of the Oppressed extensively in graduate research. (I have not read it.) But in it, Freire expresses the phenomenon of the oppressed (undereducated, underachieving parents) becoming the oppressor (discouraging their children from achievement). I see this in history and society in general. For example, the revolutionaries becoming the oppressors once in power. There are many examples of this historically and in our country today. (A great discussion that warrants more than the space a comment will allow!)
Independence is freedom from oppression. Being free from oppression can only come about through independence. I used to tell my students, if you think for yourself, you can’t be fooled into believing lies. *smile*
That is so interesting that this happens, Stacy. I have seen it also. In our family, both my brothers and their families have all followed in my parents’ footsteps, although with individual nuances. I am the only one (besides one niece) who has gone off in a different direction.
I cannot imagine people not thinking for themselves. As you can tell from this blog, independent thinking is where it’s at. (Even ending a sentence in a preposition which my mom said should never be done!) I also do not feel oppressed by society, so maybe that’s why. xoxo
Yes, independent thinking! The Transcendental movement is my favorite movement in American literature due to that motif. “Trust thyself; every heart vibrates to that iron string.” (Emerson)
A post promoting healing, Kathy, as individuals and as a country. I really identify with Susan’s comment and also with Stacy’s. As an Independent Moderate, I customarily split my vote. I am wary of the too far left and the too far right. I feel that many ordinary Americans who work hard, love their families, and attempt to offer help to others would like to see the country less polarized.
Barb, glad to hear you add in your thoughts. It’s funny, most of you commenting are exactly where I thought you might be politically. Still open to being surprised, but you kind of get a feel of where blogging friends are coming from over time. Susan, by the way, is one of my most dear friends here in our county. We think so similarly in so many ways–yet she identifies as a Republican and I a Democrat. Go figure. (And I adored my dad and he loved me, no matter what our views. Love when that can happen among friends and family.)
Good post. I appreciate that we all come from different places and can find out commonalities when we actually listen to each other. I also had Republican parents who modeled hard work and integrity. They both came from poverty and found that hard work and enterprise gained them opportunity. I have evolved into a moderate as well who can see good and bad in both parties. Now I live with “conspiracy actualists!”They call themselves. Not of the Q non variety. Even those with alternative views can be heard. We have lived with conspiracies since time began. My husband was in the VietNam war and was against it but was drafted. He saw first hand that our own government put their own youth in harms way for a lie. This knowledge is now declassified. It is factual. You don’t come away from that trusting everything your government tells you. I am disappointed in both sides right now. Disturbed by division, deceit and hidden agendas. I pray for normalcy, level headedness and that love will win.
Good morning, Ruth. I am glad you enjoyed this. I have learned a lot listening to your viewpoints over time. You have actually helped me relax my judgements–a little bit–about others who hold conspiracy theories. You are correct that there are many times our governments have not told the truth, have withheld information, have not been honest. I think this has led a lot of people to not trust. I tend to trust unless the gut says no. When reading news articles the mind keeps going yes, agree, no, yes, yes, definitely no, yes. It’s like an inner discernment being made with each offering. But just read an interesting article about our “gut feelings” not always being true. May blog about that one of these days.
Hope that didn’t sound depressing! I loved your way of trying to integrate the two sides of ourselves and of others. 💕
Ruth, I thought this sounded encouraging and beautiful: I pray for normalcy, level headedness and that love will win. And it made me very happy that you had the courage to comment here, because talking about all this stuff can be so challenging when so many people respond with condemnation and hatred instead of trying to listen and learn. ❤
The obsession with “labels” is becoming more insistent every year, I’m sure. I know far more about American politics now than I did at the beginning of this year, but I’m still not sure how your system works, so I think it’s best that I sit on the fence with you, and hope for the best from all people.
I think you got it right when you concluded, “we are larger and wider than we can even imagine”. We certainly are. Who needs a label anyway? xx
Joanne, I agree! I don’t think we Americans would even begin to agree how our political system works, lol. But what I am learning these days is what ways I am still caught up in inner labels. And this Democrat/Republican divide is one of them. So will be continuing to unravel these conditioned labels and discover if and how they are limiting… Thank you, truly.
I watched a documentary recently where an English artist visited America and met various people on both ‘sides’ of different debates and for the first time I had a flicker of insight into why some of the Republicans felt as they did. It’s good that you’ve been able to find peace in a new way of seeing politics.
Andrea, I’ll bet that documentary was enlightening. Hopefully this glimpse of peace will deepen and continue to inform a new way of seeing. Thank you.
many elders have ben speaking out and reminding us, the right wing and the left wing belong to the same bird 🙂
Osa, yes! I have forgotten this story–it is so true! Thank you, dear one. ❤
I so get what you are saying, Kathy in your post about Republicans and Democrats. What still puzzles me about the last election is how so many people voted for a man that is such a poor role model and that has does so much to harm our democracy? It saddens me.
I totally get what you’re saying, Alanna. It has puzzled me as well. When I listen to Republican friends and family share their feelings, thought, it seems to have less to do with his personality and more to do with their perception that he wants to advocate personal rights versus governmental intervention. Many of them shake their heads about the way he acts but likes his leave-us-alone-to-be-independent philosophy.
This topic will always leave me with questions, especially after travelling to countries where there is “less government”, puppet democracies – where people’s only safety net is their families.
I do understand, Alanna.
I so understand what you’re saying, Kathy. From the outside, we’ve been watching the increasing polarisation in the US over the last four, five years with alarm. It’s the demonisation of the ‘other side’ that’s been the most troubling to watch. Quite apart from the incessant, never-ending torrent of blatant and shameless lies, spread of mis/disinformation and obvious distortion of the truth from the top leadership downwards… In a world as interconnected as ours, with almost every public utterance being recorded in some format or other, the constant lying is just … staggering. When and how did this become normalised?!
We see the demonisation of ‘the other’ as ‘the enemy’ in my country all the time. In our case, it is primarily racial hatred that is being fuelled as part of political power struggles among the leadership, who do not have the country’s or its citizens’ best interests at heart; it is very disturbing. In both our countries, it is soooo important to dial back this polarisation and divisiveness; it is so unhealthy and destructive. We are facing sooo many threats – from global warming to economic collapse… Now, more than ever, we need level-headed, clear-thinking and wise leaders with integrity who can unite us as citizens of the same country – Americans in your country, South Africans down here. Good luck, Kathy!
Thank you for sharing this, Reggie. It seems like many countries are experiencing these extreme polarizations these days. Not sure when or how this happened and why everything is so divided. If we could find unity perhaps we could make a difference in the world, but all we humans seem to want to to do is fight. It is so disturbing, indeed. Seconding your desire for clear-thinking and wise leaders. Who will get the support of a united front of us. xoxo
I think we have to keep holding the light, Kathy… exactly what you’re doing. And to know that doing so will send ripples outwards from our hearts, into those we interact with, into our neighbourhoods, our communities… Stay strong, and don’t lose hope and faith. 🙂
Ditto to what Reggie wrote. One more thing is it laziness that causes folks not to think for themselves? And why are folks so easily led by a preacher who in essence says that same thing repetitively.
Yes, and isn’t interesting how “both sides” accuse the other side of not thinking for themselves? But some people are easily led it seems… Sigh…