Monday, January 30, 2017

Facing Our Fears, and Losing Our Bias

Tap tap tap. Huh. It seems I AM still here! 

There has been a lot of static and radio silence from my corner since the election because . . . well, good gravy! No matter what I write, I get bombarded from both ends of the spectrum. The left who can't give up the ghost of the "perfect" administration . . . the right who are blinded by this not being "that" administration. Oh, and "pro-life*."

I am, of course, speaking in generalities. In real life, as Mary would say, most people are not lunatics. Oh wait, she says most people are awesome. The lunatic part is all me. In all seriousness, I think if we were to sit down over a coffee or other strong beverage, you would find that we as a whole have more in common than that which separates us. In person, we could all admit that none of us have the answers, and maybe looking me in the eyes would keep you from spewing every liberal/conservative talking point under the sun, moon, and stars. 

Online, though? It's one big cluster of emotion and links to click. It is insanely overwhelming, and mama ain't got time or brain power for that. She has a teething baby who doesn't like to sleep on his own. The trouble with avoiding it completely, though, is that the loudest of the loudmouths continue to be heard. Of course I am guilty of the reactionary post and the linking of links. (See above reference to sleeplessness!) For this and all other sins against faith and reason I am truly sorry. Not only will I attempt to avoid what leads me to such sin, but I will now fight against it as well.

Facebook, oh ye temptress of rash judgement and emotional responses. Oh how you prey on the defenseless. Wait. What? I have control over that? Right. My bad. I do. And so do you. The truth is that media such as Facebook only provide a vehicle for our lazy thought and faux action. As with any vehicle, though, we can reroute the course and begin to shape a new narrative. 

There are serious issues facing our nation (and world) - some which are new given the tone of this administration, but most that are ongoing and will require complex solutions that do not play favorites to either side of the spectrum. I am tired of giving in to lazy thought and reactionary posts on my part. I want to feel truly informed again. I want to dive into what is actually being said and done (which is concerning enough), and prayerfully provide a forum for a discussion that re-humanizes the issues we face. Issues do not exist in theoretical isolation after all. They involve flesh and blood, real people with real stories. I want us to focus on these stories, the people, as we hash out the possible solutions (yes, solutions) to the quandaries of our time. I want this space to become a place where the bickering stops and the meaty conversations begin. I want us to leave our fears and biases at the door (and the foot of the cross), and come together to have the tough conversations, to learn, to seek and dream of answers that affirm life and joy, security and dignity. 

I will be the first to admit that I am tired and my resources of time and brain power are currently limited. There are others among you though, who work day in and day out with the populations that we are currently "discussing" and I beg you for your input. Whether it is regarding immigration, refugee care, health care, Planned Parenthood (for instance, someone just recently brought to my attention that there are some rural areas where other care is not readily accessible or known - how can we fix that?), abortion, sexuality, education, unemployment, government assistance, religious freedom, veteran affairs or [insert your own concern here], please - tell me your stories, inform me of the real realities. 

Just promise me this? Let's not pit one population against another. Let's work together to lift up all those in need and not make them fight for their sliver of care. For instance, let's not fall prey to the idea that harboring persecuted refugees is in competition with providing better care for our veterans. They are both noble and right. Can we be brave enough to look at how we might make some sacrifices to provide for both? 

If you are up for this kind of conversation and are willing to help me stay honest about staying informed of facts over frenzy, come! Please, come! Pull up a chair, grab a drink, and let's get started. There is much work to be done. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, "let us begin again." And again. And again. And again. Let us keep beginning until we get it right.


*I am in no way belittling those who are pro-life, since I'm not into self-flagellation and all that. I know the majority of these warriors are good, giving people who defend the lives of all - the unborn, the migrant, the unlovable . . . ALL. However, I use quotation marks because I am not convinced that in the political arena the term is an honest one.

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