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Yesterday a woman that I work with mentioned she was starting a group to help bridge the divide between us. Since the government can’t seem to do it, she felt it was up to us to begin the dialogue that will help to bring us together. “We live in the city of bridges”, she explained, “Doesn’t it make sense to start here?” There would be t-shirts that said, “I’m With Us.” I love her idea.
The world around us is so polarised. When we watch the media, everyone appears to be for or against everything. We avoid dialogue and deliberation and instead, just try to find a forum to shout out our opinions, especially on social media, as if none of us feel heard. The frustration people feel on all sides is palpable.
It’s fascinating to me the level of distress and disruption. Many people were shocked by Trump winning, but just as many people were happy. The gaps in who voted for whom were wide in some demographics - race, educational background etc. What does this tell us? Here we can clearly see the width of the divide.
And what keeps widening that divide? Fear. Our fear of the other, our desire for a better life without a clear route to get there, our constant comparison to others who have or have not. All this set in a culture of blame and lack of empathy. Right now it feels like a hot mess out there.
But we vent and cry and take a deep breath. We pick ourselves back up, we carry on, and we try to shift our perspective. "I’m With Us.”
We can choose love over fear.
We can choose to look beyond the surface of our beliefs and examine the perceptions we hold of others to imagine what it’s like to stand in their shoes.
Why does this new President strike fear into the heart of an immigrant? Why do mothers of black sons lie sleepless at night? Why would someone choose this President? Ellen DeGeneres said on her show, “If we take away the labels, we’ll find out just how alike we really are.”
We are love at the root. Have compassion for yourself and those around you this week. Then dig down for the love.
You will hear bad news this week. You will hear stories of violence and bigotry. Don't let them scare you. There are bad people out there, but the vast bulk of people (Yes, even Trump supporters) are good people. They are people who are afraid for themselves, and for their families. And yes, they may have voted for a person with disgusting views on women and minorities, but they were scared. Many voted for him despite his views, not because of them. Remember that. And remember we are love.
"Good and bad are mixed. If you don’t have both, you don’t belong with us." — Rumi
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