Transparency as Policy
It is funny. Few people ask me about politics, about how I vote and why. I assume that they assume they know… and this is our problem. Unlike many people I like to ask who people are voting for, if for no other reason than the entertainment of shock. I sometimes ask even more uncomfortable questions like how much do you have in your bank account, do you sleep with men, women, anyone, etc. We are not adept at having these essential conversations and yet we are attempting to live together on one planet?
I do not believe social media is the place for meaningful exchange especially about politics, religion, you know, the biggies. Trying to “see” one another on FB feels a little like breaking up with someone via a sticky note (and for the record I have tried and it was rather terrible). I am a traditionalist who believes we need to speak in person about matters of heart, so we may truly see the fear, the fear, the fear that from the subconscious drives 95% of all decisions, no matter how intelligent or informed, rich or poor we believe we are.
Here’s an example of the type of conversation I am proposing.
ME: Who will you vote for in the presidential election, or do you vote? (It is important to say this with kindness in your voice, a portrayal of real curiosity.)
THEM: I am sure you are voting for the other candidate so I would rather not say. (I am giving this intelligent human the benefit of the doubt here because most of the time all I get as response is either masked in stutter or silence.)
ME: I am voting for/not voting because of these reasons…(Transparent as my bank account which currently has 70K in it but is dwindling while I learn to publish books…I am in stitches with how true this is. Please do not bother me with charitable donations right now.)
THEM: I love Trump.
ME: What qualities do you love in Trump? How does he support your ideals/values?
THEM: I am afraid (notice the fear) our government may someday take away our right to bear arms and I will not be able to defend my family.
ME: I can understand that fear, and the desire, but let’s imagine we have the guns and it has come to this point where we are shooting one another in defense. How long do you really want to be alive with a gun in your hand, fearing for your family’s life, total chaos? There has to be another way, right? (Again, this is asked with genuine concern and I am imagining the conversation goes on and on.)
At the very least we have been able to express our beliefs freely with a stranger or friend, and at the most we come away loving our humanity, our commonality which will only engender cooperation as opposed to the bilateral vitriol presently masquerading as well-meaning.
We need to engage the conversation where we live, eat, with friends and strangers alike, where our children go to school, and where we pray, to practice what we currently have no knack for. This conversation requires real talent, a genuine curiosity, an openness that bows us to the innocence and hopefulness of a beginners mind, with a willing heart to hear and be wrong; and this attitude either side can be first to adopt. When we do, the dance will change. If you would like to know how I vote, if I vote, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Finally…here’s a poem I wrote that has nothing to do with politics, but somehow expresses how I feel currently.
Dawn is not sunrise, just like a crow is not a raven.
The cause of such soft light has not yet revealed itself,
and still hangs its glowing orb-head below our sight.
The promise flashes through dulled white clouds,
and exposes naked trees silhouette,
holds mystery all its own, worthy reverence, unknown.
I never tire of that moment which eternally moves,
with clever painter strokes
and splashes its peculiar silvering on mountains,
over prairies and homes,
to sparkle gold the lashes of trees,
as though made up for some great love.
Dawn is not sunrise, few speak of its beauty, the line too thin between,
because it cannot be described with words, whereas how many lovers have
stood smiling for a photo with an almost identical evening sun trailing our backs?
And later explained it all… away.
The pink hues follow, the fiery beaming streams, the noisiness of day ensues,
but please stand with me in stillness first, do not give to sunrise what belongs to the dawn,
hope interlacing like fingers, to still,