Monday, January 16, 2017

Being "We, the People"...

I haven't been writing very much lately. Well, actually, I haven't been
writing at all. Words which make sense just won't come. In fact,
words and ideas tumble over one another in my brain like those little
balls in a bingo cage. Unlike in that handy little mechanism, however,
one ball doesn't drop, but several, sometimes many. Ideas which
conflict; emotions which confuse: for all of which I seem to find no
adequate expression in words.

There are days when I cannot, absolutely cannot, watch the news,
listen to the talking heads. There are other days when I immerse
myself in it all, trying to watch and listen to conflicting sides, to be as
fair as I can be in personal news-gathering. But I remain in the dark,
stuck in a quagmire of muck and mud and misinformation, uncertain
if what I'm hearing is really what I'm hearing, unsure if I have taken
leave of my already-battered senses and have truly fallen down the
rabbit hole into a kind of whacky Wonderland in which I am not Alice
but the Mad Hatter trying to determine just who is the March Hare or
the Cheshire Cat, the Red Queen or Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.

Am I alone in feeling this way? Please tell me I'm not. You see, I
have always tried to see and hear and understand both sides of any grant each speaker the courtesy of believing that s/he is
speaking from a place of integrity and deep truth. I have tried to find
middle ground, a "Third Way", which honored the beliefs and opinions
of both sides and led to a way of peace and reconciliation. But- and,
oh my, it's a huge BUT- I am struggling mightily with this right now.
Have been the entire election season, but now that the day of the
inauguration draws near, I am deeply and sincerely conflicted. I love
my country- though I see it as both my right and duty as a citizen to
criticize its government and hold it to a high standard, to hold our
elected officials to a high standard, and to demand that the Consti-
tution be upheld. BUT- right now, I am weeping- not because my
candidate lost, but because the person who will be taking the oath of
office this Friday is someone who demeans women and immigrants
and Muslims and the disabled...someone who still has not measured
up to the generally-accepted standards for previous presidents-
presenting his tax returns, divesting of his business interests to
prevent conflicts of interest, to name just two.

I watched some of the news shows from yesterday on my TV this
morning and heard a spokesperson for the President-elect demeaning
those who are calling this an illegitimate presidency- yet isn't that
exactly the language which was used over and over again for the
presidency of Barack Obama by the so-called "birthers"- led and
urged on by our now-President-elect? I have heard him and his
spokespersons demean those who offer any criticism of this man, as
if criticism of the Commander-in-Chief has no place in our American
democracy, and was not the meat-and-potatoes of the opposition
throughout President Obama's entire eight-year term of office. And
I have watched as thoughtful journalists have been criticized and
chastised for asking honest questions, though I see this as a way
of deflecting and diverting attention away from the fact that answers
are not forthcoming.

So, how do I, as a person of faith, as a person who believes deeply in
honoring the personhood of every other human being, even those
with whom I disagree- how do I deal with the name- calling and cat-
calling and Twittering, with the refusal of those whose point of view is
different from my own to even begin to consider honest questions, to
engage in honest and open discussion? How do I welcome and
embrace as President of this country I love so deeply a man who
seems to embrace so many of the values which are antithetical to my
own deeply-held beliefs? How do I, as a person of faith, look my
sisters and brothers in the pew in the eye and continue to love them,
respect them, honor their personhood, when they hold views which
seem to me to go against the teachings of the very One we all claim
to love and serve and follow?

Well, as part of my response, for the last nearly-six weeks, I have
been involved in organizing the Triad NC Women's March in
Greensboro for this coming Saturday morning, January 21st, in
conjunction with the Women's March on Washington on that same
day. To date, well over two hundred Sister Marches have been
organized all over the United States, with nearly 80 more taking
place in cities all over the world. These will be women (and men and
even children) marching to show our support for so many causes
which the rhetoric of this election season have threatened: women's
rights, including reproductive freedom; voting rights; immigrant
rights and reform; LGBTQI rights; religious freedom rights; equal
protections under the law; rights for those who are differently abled;
reform of the criminal justice system; raising the minimum wage; environmental protections; excellence and equality in public
education; universal health care; Black Lives Matter; affordable
housing; equality and justice for all. These will be women (and men
and children) marching to demonstrate our deep love for and belief
in this system of democracy, and our call for it to work for the good
of all people.

So, if you are feeling as I am, why not come and join us on
Saturday at Government Plaza on the corner of Washington and
Greene Streets in Greensboro at 10a.m.? Or find a march in your
own little corner of the world and be there. Let your voice be heard.
This is the way we can be "We, the People". And right now, it's the
best way, the most honest way, I know.

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