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We Are Not Enemies
*Possible trigger alert: I am talking about politics in this post and I am much more clear and transparent about my own political beliefs that I have been before. If you cannot or do not want to read that, this is definitely a good one to skip. It is all shared with love, though, and I hope you can read it and hear it at some point.
Phew! This is a tricky one to write. But, I’m going to do my best in this moment and know that it’s going to be nowhere near perfect, but I need to try. Even if it’s just for me and the way I try to express this doesn’t land for anyone else; however, I can hope that maybe something here will be helpful for even one person.
As I sit here writing this morning, we are just a couple of weeks away from the U.S. election. I don’t think I need to paint the landscape for anyone, whether you are in the U.S. or not, to convey just how tumultuous things are in our nation right now.
As I shared recently about the awful loss of my best friend’s son, so too, with this, I just cannot find the words, and none seem good enough/strong enough to accurately describe just how unsettling our political and social reality is right now.
I want to start from that place, that I see and feel and am very aware of just how damn challenging of a time we are in. I’m not going to try to paint over it with a happy, unaware word paintbrush [yeah, I realize that is not a real thing and makes no sense, but let’s go with it ;-) ] and I’m not going to suggest you dig out your rose-tinted lenses.
However, I am going to share with you a noticing I had a couple of weeks ago and some things I’ve pondered on since then. I’ll share the highest level awareness I had and then a bit more about what I’ve been sitting with.
The biggest awareness/reminder/awakening/download for me was this: You are not my enemy. I am not your enemy. We are not enemies.
How do we navigate in these politically tumultuous times?
How do we not hate the other?
How do we not fear and hate when we have been convinced that this is life and death?
How do we see across the aisle and look into the eyes of someone who believes so differently than us and not go to fear and hate?
Hate and intolerance come from fear. And that is exactly what we are fed day in and day out — by the media, by our politicians, by our social feeds, from scared and triggered family and friends and community members, and even by some of our religious institutions.
I’m saying no to the diet of hate and intolerance! I’m not going to take it anymore, and I hope that you will — if you feel it in your heart and it feels right for you — please take that stand as well.
Yes, I am aware that the stances of the political parties and the politicians, the corporations that are behind them, and the individuals that support them, are vastly different at times. That one cannot be in alignment with what one party thinks and supports, and be able to also support the beliefs of those that fall on the other side of the issue.
I’m not proposing that we try to gather around the campfire, hold hands, and sing love songs to one another. OMG!!!! I would love that so much though! Sigh, and I’m going to keep visioning and dreaming for the day. OK, I promise I’m taking off my rose-tinted glasses now. :grin:
I am proposing though, that seeing our own citizens, our own brothers and sisters, our own neighbors, as the enemy will never get us to where we want to be as a nation or a world.
They have divided us and we have followed along. We have gotten in line and been fed this diet of hate day after day. Of course, it’s going to color the world that we see.
Yes, there is going to be division, especially at the extremes, but how many of us really live in the extremes? We’ve been placed there and we have been pitted against one another. That is part of how we have gotten to where we are. I no longer want to accept that.
Yes, there are so many that believe differently than I do, but they are not the enemy. They are not my enemy. We have far more in common and that we can agree upon than not. How can we come to focus on that? How can we re-train ourselves to have that be our starting point?
There will never be a way forward if we cannot at least try to see the humanity, and the common threads that bind us, in every person — even that person who believes so much differently than we do. To hate and vilify is not going to move us forward.
Make no mistake that to not hate and not fear and not make someone else the enemy does not mean that I am going to be quiet about my beliefs and not do all I can to help move the needle forward. But, I’m not going to do it by hating someone else.
This is true of even our current president and his administration. I do not support him and them, primarily because of how terribly divisive he and his administration have been and how much hate and fear I have seen come from him, only to land at the feet of the amazing citizens of this nation — who deserve a leader who can embody respect, collaboration, empathy, integrity, intelligence, and humanity.
And if he cannot or will not change to become that kind of leader, then I must support the candidate I think has the best chance of moving the needle forward in a way that honors not only us here in the U.S. but also the world that we are a part of. We all must do this, according to our own conscience. Because we truly are all in this together.
While I absolutely do not support this current administration, I have no hate in my heart for our current government leaders, and I certainly do not see them as the enemy. And, I have no hate in my heart for those who believe differently than I do. I just cannot and will not give in to hate.
But I also want to be clear that I think our future and our hopes lie with and within us and what we are able to do and contribute as individuals. It is not the politicians. It is not the corporations. It is not the lobbyists. It is not the political parties. They have their positions because of us. And it’s we who must continue the work of building a country and world we all can be proud to be citizens of.
Are the conversations that are needed hard and challenging? Hell, yes, they are!
Are we in need of radical change, not just because of the current administration, but because of what our current political system is at its very core? Yes, we absolutely are!
Is it going to take an enormous amount of patience and probably more open-heartedness and open-mindedness than any of us have ever had to tap into? Yes, I believe it is.
And, I absolutely believe in us. While I do not believe in the systems and structures that we currently have in place, I 100% believe in each and every one of us as individuals and people who are worthy of a peaceful and healed world.
I am not going to share my treatise on how I believe our political and governmental system can and should change. That would take FOREVER and it’s not what you’re here for. But, what I do want to end with is this:
I do know that there are those in our world who live in and believe in the absolute extremes; who are not able to see and respect and honor the humanity in others who are different from them — whether because of the color of their skin, or their sexuality, or their spiritual or religious beliefs, or political beliefs, or any other difference. I am not talking to those people today. But, I do still have hope that their hearts can be changed as they see the rest of us (THE VERY LARGE MAJORITY OF US) doing our work.
I am talking to everyone else, to you dear, lovely, open-hearted reader: you are not my enemy. I am not your enemy. We are not enemies.
And, I hope that you can see that neither is the person on the other side of the aisle. Nor is the family member who sits across from you at Thanksgiving. Nor is the neighbor who has the sign for the other political party. Nor is the person in the red state or the blue state or the purple state.
Are you willing to open your ears and your heart and your mind, to make deep eye contact with the other and listen? Are you willing to grow together, rather than apart? I believe you will find much more middle ground and much more in common than perhaps you ever could have thought possible. And, with that, we can one by one start working towards the kind of government, country, and world that we each deserve.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Black Eyed Peas songs today: One Tribe. I’m going to keep envisioning and working towards it. You with me?