Friday, November 11, 2016

Good Morning, Résistance

This has been a terrible week politically, and it hasn't been that great domestically either. Tom and I lost a second house-bidding war, and I've been sick for days with a massive head cold. Nonetheless, yesterday had its bright spots. Mid-afternoon, my son called home from college to tell me that he's been obsessively reading Emily Dickinson poems and that they've really been helping him cope. So score one for poetry, and for the brilliance of Dickinson's mind, and for a young man who turns to female intelligence for aid in a crisis.

The other bright spot was a small Facebook interaction with some of my Harmony neighbors. It began with this post of mine:
It's been so painful to watch our young people weep. Yet I'm proud to know they feel such passion, that they carry their ideals with honor. Their hearts are the future of our nation.
In response, two townspeople left edgy anti-liberal responses--nothing overtly cruel, but certainly both were defensive, dismissive, and politically partisan. It took me all day to decide how I would respond to their comments, and finally this is what I came up with:
My post didn't mention party affiliation or whom I voted for. That's not my primary concern here. What I see at this moment is great pain among the young people I've watched grow up and come to know as a teacher and an advocate. I know you both love your kids, and that you know what it feels like to see them suffer. That's what I'm looking at now. We live in the same town. We've shared a lot of joys and pains together. You know how Harmony people hold our children in our hearts . . . all of them--no matter what their political leanings might be. Love to all of you and yours.
Quickly, both of them responded: "And to yours." "And love to your family."

Then one wrote a longer response:
To me this is a learning thing and how you handled it. Maybe a way to help them is to explain election come and go. Sometimes your person win sometimes they don't . That is why it is important to vote. There is never a reason for violence and hate speech. And that this great Country build on all kinds of people and all the citizens over eighteen should vote how they like.
Okay, I know that this exchange will fix none of the horrors of a Trump presidency. But I did feel as if I had managed to respond to my neighbors in a way that allowed them to look past their partisanship and speak to me, a well-known local liberal "elite," in a humane and affectionate way . . . and even to acknowledge that they could learn new ways of engagement.

So now, through the malaise of my head cold, I say, "Good morning, Résistance! What's your super-power today?" Yesterday I won a social media face-off. Who knows? Maybe today I'll even figure out how to buy a house.

1 comment:

Maureen said...

Dawn, your response is beautiful and perfect: respond with love. I'm so troubled by all the violence being reported. Violence is never an appropriate answer.

I've been reading a lot of Adrienne Rich. Her poetry has been a great solace.

We have a lack of supply of affordable (even unaffordable) houses, setting off bidding wars here, too. I hope you and Tom can find something soon.