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Archive for June 30th, 2019

Hope vs Fear

More than a week ago, I was listening to the news and heard someone say something that was very interesting and thought provoking. They were talking about the 2020 elections and said something to this nature: Conservatives campaign on fear and that resonates within the base and those that live with fear. They may not like the candidate but the issues they believe that victimize them are the driver of their vote not the candidate. The candidate only represents those issues. The liberals on the left come from a place of hope and the base votes for the hopes and dreams they wish to fulfill. Fear will always fight, and hope does not fight. So where do we go from here? While this was my interpretation of this statement it felt like a lead balloon.

The very next news report was about one democratic candidate’s statement about working across the isle with other politicians that were supporters of segregation and openly discriminate and vote along those lines. This occurred early in his career. Now the young members of his party are protesting and fighting him over his comments.

These worldly concerns were running through my head as I sat at traffic lights, listening to cars honk and watched people make risky moves in and out of the city traffic. At one point I found myself thinking, who am I, to judge that person for that driving moves. Who am I to judge, if one person should listen to or converse with another who has violated another and suppressed their rights? If I chose to fight them how do I win? If I sit around and hope they change their ways, how do they hear me? I can pray for them to change and I can role model the change I want to see. Or I can step closer to them and ask to hear them. I can use my compassionate heart to hear their words and share with them my words and thoughts. I can set up an opportunity for them to take a step forward. I can find a stepping-stone that helps them see me extending a hand or olive branch. Once I jump up and down and call them wrong and they must change to my view, I lose the gift of compassion. I block them and myself from growth.

During that day I was in an interview and was asked a question that mirrored this scenario in the nursing patient relationship. I said, I have no right to judge the non-compliant patient, it is my role to meet them where they are and to offer compassion, knowledge and faith to support their moving forward even if it is one little step.

The polarization of our nation has continued to play out over these last few years very publicly. I believe it started long before that in a more hidden, underground way. Perhaps the politics of the 50s, 60s, and 70s of crossing the line to the work with those on the other side of congress and the senate was not such a bad thing. Even if they worked with those that were prejudice, bigots and misogynist. These politicians with all their beliefs and behaviors were voted into their roles by people with similar beliefs. I cannot make them go away by fighting. When did berating each other become the right way to resolve differences? Why does one side need all the power and the other no power or say? Now, I am not giving power to discrimination, suppression of others, and hate. I am choosing to acknowledge it is there and to step on a platform that is shared by other views. Until we look each other in the eyes and say you have value we can not move forward we can only get further apart.

I once read a story of tribes in Africa that would address civil disobedience without punishment. The person who did the act against others, steal and even murder, were placed in the center of all the tribe members. They were languished with love, each tribe member sharing the positive things they saw in this person over the course of a few days or week/s. It went 24 hours a day for multiple days. Each tribe member having a part in this display of love, even those wronged participated. And the person in the center received all these positive affirmations and energy. This continued until the person showed a change in themselves. They acknowledged their wrong and committed to their own plan for repentance. They would pay their debt to the tribe by service to those they hurt. In the situation of murder, they committed to a lifetime of service to the family that lost the love one.

It is an interesting concept and one we often hear about from parents who are at their wits end with a disobedient child or drug addicted adolescent. They stop the fight and start to praise their child for everything good. Sometimes they search for that good at the bottom of the barrel, but they deliberately chose to find good in every situation. They stop bringing attention to every disobedient action or drug use. I have read this multiple time, in parent self-help books or books on love and forgiveness.

How can that help in politics? Do we stop the fight by not showing up to March against it? If there is no one to hear and to fight what will happen to their anger and furry without the fan of resistance? If they have no one to fight will the awaiting silence open the door for them to listen? Will the loss of an audience change their stance as they try to find a new place to fit into society? I am not sure of the right approach. To join someone where they are, too start a conversation, or to walk away, leave no fight, and no one to listen. I see how each of these approaches can help to depower the negative and to allow room for a new voice to emerge.

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