Monday, March 22, 2010

Community

While it’s true that my blog is typically for matters of the heart, those of you who know me also know just how unusual it is that politics has never made an appearance here.

I am passionate about a lot of things.

Art.

Men.

Education.

The theater.

Dinosaur bones.

Thanksgiving dinner.

And last, but certainly not least… POLITICS.

I am a news junkie. I am a politics geek. Last night I was thrilled to see history unfold in front of my eyes as Congress voted on a new healthcare bill. The rabble-rousing that followed with an attempt to send the bill back to committee was surprising, but I was happy to witness it unfold and to watch the votes as they appeared on the television screen. What troubles me is how Americans are not talking about issues. There is no discourse, no attempt at understanding, merely talking heads shouting that the other side is wrong.

When did we decide that the right thing to do was to stand in judgment of someone because they have a different opinion? Isn’t it freedom that we Americans claim to live and fight for? Doesn’t freedom include freedom of speech and thought? I may not agree with many of my fellow Americans on a lot of very emotional issues, but I do believe we have the right to disagree. I do not believe it gives anyone the right to incivility.

I love to argue the issues of the day. Arguing has gotten a bad name.

To argue = To state reasons for or against a thing.

We spend so much time texting rather than talking that we have forgotten how to argue; how to listen to each other. We spend too much time shouting out what the ‘talking heads’ have told us. We need to hear what we are trying to tell each other.

Name calling is never an answer.

Assuming that the other side is just plain stupid makes no sense.

This morning my friend Liz posted a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that I believe is right on point. While we have not been hitting each other, we have been partaking in violence of thought.

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. – Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1967)

I hope we choose community.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Up In The Air

Last night, as part of my pre-Oscar movie-going frenzy I went to see “Up In The Air.” I remain haunted by Ryan Bingham and the look on his face when his lover tells him he is a parenthesis.

In the beginning of the film Ryan and Alex seem to be cut from the same fabric – embracing aloneness; looking for entertainment; going back to their corners.

Then something happens and Ryan’s heart opens up to possibilities beyond his own private universe. He begins to fall in love. Even more, he decides to share the news with the woman he loves only to discover that she was more like him that he was.



Ryan: I thought I was part of your life.

Alex: I thought we signed up for the same thing… I thought our relationship was perfectly clear. You are an escape. You’re a break from our normal lives. You’re a parenthesis.

Ryan: I’m a parenthesis?


I’ve been on both sides of that conversation. In years gone by I have been like Ryan and Alex – cool, falsely compassionate, struggling to mitigate my own shortcomings and failures in the eyes of the world and finding myself lonely and alone. These days I’m more often on the receiving end of heartache.

I’ve decided to not look for a parenthesis. I’ve decided to not be afraid of what might happen if I am more than a parenthetical in someone else’s life.

I’m hoping that Mr. Right is out there and that he is ready for me. In the meantime, like in the movie, I am up in the air hoping for a smooth landing.