Fair Warning on language and on the habit of chaning song lyrics. And just about everything else–if you aren’t offended by parts of or the entirety of this post, I’ll feel I have missed the mark. You have been warned.
This morning, the tune of a song was rattling around in my head. But the words came out of my mouth like this: “ain’t gonna fuck around no more.” Sometimes I think God whispers. Sometimes I think she just lets go of her everlovin’ shit. Today, she reminded me that it might be way past time for me to do the same.
I’ve been angry for the past week and a half. When I wasn’t curled up like a fetal ball of jangled nerves on the couch or the bed, I was wishing I had something to kick. Sometimes it came out in Facebook posts that were less than kind. Sometimes it came out in just stuffing it all back down. But mostly it came out in not being able to face the world—because I get to choose not to.
Friends were checking on me and I wouldn’t have any of it … and then the thing that pulled me back into the world is the thing that usually does, I had to attend to something for my daughter. I was lucky in that when I went to see one daughter, I ended up seeing all three. And then I got an invite to a friend’s house. And then I pulled myself to church and then to a discussion about being neighborly in one of the most racially segregated regions in the country. And, on Monday, I had lunch with another friend.
This morning, I realized how I was segregating myself from the people who voted differently than me. The posts I was sharing were putting people I love at arms length and the phone calls I was answering (or not) were doing the same.
I gathered my like-minded friends close, and decided I was too hurt and angry with the others for their votes to even look at them or their Facebook posts, let alone talk with them in a civil way.
And maybe that’s what I needed, but it was horseshit.
I ain’t gonna fuck around no more. There’s no time for reaping more division by hiding from people who think differently—and it ain’t gonna change no hearts, either.
I love people who voted for the other candidate. I love them. Full stop. I love them.
And so, I have to find a way to talk with them and be part of their life so that we aren’t adding to the pain this country is already in. And I realize I’m the one that has to do that. I’m the one that built those walls (to coin a phrase).
I love my friends who voted for an unqualified candidate with no real policies and rhetoric that inflamed people to reclaim the worst of our actions as Americans. And I don’t automatically think it is because they are racist that they did so. And yet, …
I also love my friends and people I don’t even know who are now at even greater risk of being harmed or killed because of the color of their skin or their faith, of being deported or having loved ones deported (please don’t respond that they should have come here legally and it wouldn’t be a problem, because that will completely challenge my ability to be near you and love you at the same time—I’m still very tender even if I ain’t gonna fuck around no more), or having their marriages annulled.
My friends who are anything other than white, heterosexual and Christian are terrified, and their needs are my first priority. Simply put, they need me. They need me to use my identity as a married, heterosexual, cis-gender white woman with a wicked vocabulary to make sure that their rights are protected as much as mine, as much as yours. And they need me to talk to you, to keep you at the table so that maybe you can begin to see them in the whole of their humanity.
I was following a car down 49 the other day that had a bumper sticker that read “Respect Life” with a picture of a perfect pink baby being cradled in perfect pink hands. I couldn’t help but wonder at every stop light what that would mean if next to the words “Respect Life” was a woman in a hijab, or a Mexican migrant worker, or Trayvon Martin, or Matthew Shepard, or, or, or …
“Respect Life” is a great slogan for us all to adopt, but it needs to figure in to all of our policies, not just those for perfect pink babies.
So here’s what I’m going to do with my new philosphy: I’m going to try to listen to you from a point of trying to understand rather than to try and convince you. And I’m going to ask you to do the same. And I’m going to tell you if I think something you just said is harmful to other people. I’m going to ask you to picture that the life you have lived is not available to a lot of people, even if you have had trials and tribulations of your own. I’m not trying to suggest I’m smarter than you nor more enlightened, but I am going to remind you that my philosphy (besides the ain’t gonna fuck around) about government is “people first.”
You know I’m no Christian, right? Still, the thoughts that have permeated my mind most, besides they aforementioned, are the following:
“Fear not!” and “Do unto others.”
Both are hard right now, but will become easier and easier once I truly stop fucking around.
Have a blessed day, y’all. Be kind to yourselves and to others and maybe, just maybe, we won’t be fighting this civil war for the next two hundred years.