We the People

Of the polarizing, complicated, enflamed political knot in which our country - and world - are currently entangled, I will only say this.

Aside from political parties, aside from loved or hated leaders, aside from the headache of opinions on which side is right, wrong, evil, god-sent, and every claim in between, we as human beings have a universal responsibility to be kept at the front of our collective societal mind, now and always.

We the people must be kind. We the people must be respectful. We the people must be compassionate. And we the people must pay attention.

We must be aware of our everyday interactions and observations, and constantly make the effort to view situations from alternate perspectives. Perhaps you, like me, have felt the urge to shut it all out for a time. To rip the cords from the wall, let the screens go dark, and mute the soundtrack of hatred, discrimination, and mistreatment that blares from all directions. Perhaps you want to suspend the fantasy - these things aren't happening in my town. My state. My country. My world.

Here is the truth as I see it, ringing clear and bright as a bell. There is no my. In discussion of these issues - all of our numerous, ever-morphing issues - slash the word from your vocabulary.

There is only an our, hand in hand with a beautiful we.

And what can we do for this delicate pair?

What can you and I do when the animal bites its own paw, when brothers and sisters forget that they're on the same team? Act with the patience, respect, and perseverance that our human family deserves. We're better than the hatred, we deserve better than the hatred, and we can be better than the hatred. But we've got to put forth the effort, and be present in the conversation armed only with empathy and a willingness to listen.

I'm not claiming to have the solutions. I'm saying that, in my opinion, the worst thing we can do is to shut it all out and pretend it's not our everyday reality. If a human being has experienced it, it is a human experience. And to this, we must pay attention. Then, speak, act, and listen.

Stay awake, no matter how much the hostility stings your eyes. Stay awake for the experiences of your neighbors next door and across the globe. See through their eyes, hear their voices, understand their truths, and then? Realize that they are your own.



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