This has been a quiet three weeks since my last post. At least outwardly. Inside the canyons of my thoughts and heart have heaved great howls and fierce arguments; laughter and other sweetness has been too rare.
I have not found a way to make sense of the cacophony or to make a neat and idiot-proof way through the unruly din. Much like the elections ahead; my innermost self is untidy, loud, sometimes ridiculous, and longing for “peace in the valley” as it were. I am confounded by the Rubik’s cube of the day.
How do we parse disparate “truths”?
How do we reconcile how the America we have loved and served and believed in is supporting a front-runner who flouts truth and integrity and most other values we’ve told ourselves were “American?” Are we so lazy and wanting rescue to stand behind such buffoonery and sell our singular vote so cheaply?
What is the wisest course of action when no good way has been laid?
As the nation wrestles with its revealed and mythical character, so must I wrestle with inconsistencies in my own little world.
Yesterday, the fella made it easy for me to do a hard thing: declare my intention to vote a certain way in a public manner (via carefully considered caucus participation) and towards an end not favored by many old and new friends. He nudged, offered to drop me off (we likely do not share a preferred candidate), and made sure I was fueled with water and a snack for the long caucus.
But I had to go…and walk in…and assume the potential risk to my future and present self in this personal rebuilding time. I had to climb the bleachers and sit among calls and excitement on a day my inner introvert wanted slumber, a good book, and a wide bubble in which to quietly breathe.
He is a better human than I will ever be. As I conjured the very worst case scenarios about how truly costly each vote is, he held my hand and said, “You only have to cast your vote.”
You don’t need to worry about others casting their votes.
You don’t need to worry about repercussions (they will or will not come).
You don’t need to worry if it will make a difference; you just need to follow through on this thing you’ve declared important.
And as I sit here – avoiding the small mess of a mis-stated bank transaction – his wisdom rings true. In the small financial matter of my banking life, I don’t need to worry about all of the what-ifs and how-will-I’s. I just need to do the one thing before me and sort out the numbers (and thankfully in this case, there aren’t many). Fortunately, I have a small savings account consisting of several small decisions compounded which will cover any harsh financial February and my single mistake in the register. I must cast my vote with my time where a few unhappy moments beats several days (weeks) of unnecessary worry.
And so it is with our current election and “state of the State.”
We must resolve to work towards something better.
We cannot put ourselves off by the hugeness of the task ahead.
We cannot do it by ourselves; we need to ask for help (this is where community is more valuable than gold.)
Are our fears of what we may lose as important as what we will lose if we allow ourselves – as Americans – to be divided by the rhetoric of a self-aggrandizing bunch of short-sighted talking heads whose antics would embarrass the election of the local fraternity presidents?
Do we really want to expel our neighbors, ridicule the people to our left and right, and coast atop the coattails of the bank-rolled few? Don’t we have enough “skin in the game” to put our own hands to work? To be inconvenienced for a while so others may live, learn, eat, and pursue these “truths we hold self-evident”?
We have fresh water
Most of us are very-well-fed
We have more than we need
Isn’t this America worth the expense of time and talent to become the place we will entrust our children?
Community is worth a little extra effort.
Admitting foolishness is a small price in staging a turn-around of the Home-on-the-Range.
We don’t need all of the good things to be worthwhile or successful.
We need people and community to keep us grounded and to give us something worthwhile to work towards.
Because some of the wealthiest people have proved happiness and integrity to be elusive.
So this is why I have been silent lately. It is the grief of seeing our “one nation…indivisible” become red-lined by the few’s capricious interests. How could so many people feel so powerless to follow the lead of a wealthy mouth devoid of character-over-time and what is my part in re-knitting/reforging the community of “America” to the kind of place de Tocqueville would recognize?
“America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville,
Come on friends. Let’s be brave again. Let’s think more for the long-term best of our expansive community than protecting the tiny turf of our own importance. Derring do has always been best lived in among the diverse others and in tough times.
Vote. Serve. Love. Forgive. Work. Adult.
We can do this.