Friday, June 2, 2017

Response


This week has made me feel indescribably sad for my country. A comedian posing with a fake severed head of our president. Nooses left in the Smithsonian African American History Museum & in front of the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum (and that’s just this week – we’ve had other noose incidents in our capital in recent months that haven’t gotten the same press). An anti-Muslim terrorist stabbing people on a train and calling it patriotism. I’m grieving our lack of empathy, our inability to see beyond our own priorities.

But here’s the thing: my current sadness isn’t because these actions are anything new for our country. We’ve been doing this and much worse from the start. My current state of sadness is based on how connected our emotional response is to where we identify politically.

I believe the vast majority of Americans are sad about these actions. But we only become livid if it is something the other side has done.

Where is the liberal rage over Griffin’s photo? We had plenty of it when we witnessed images of effigies of Obama hanging from nooses. We’re very fast to pull them out in response to Trump’s comment about liberal violence. But we are not mustering the same level of rage over Griffin’s photo that we are over the Nugent/Palin/Kid Rock photo in front of Hilary Clinton’s portrait, and it is hypocritical and intensely wrong. Griffin’s photo was inexcusable, and we need to stop sitting quietly and ignoring it – we need to speak up.

Where is the conservative rage over the nooses and stabbings? You’ve told marginalized groups that white supremacists didn’t reflect the average Trump voter and you absolutely weren’t voting for that hatred when you voted for Trump, that your policies would better protect people of color than liberal policies, and even in some situations that the images we’ve seen are a liberal plant to make conservatives look bad. Yet when I’ve scrolled social media, I have yet to see a conservative friend even talk about these acts, let alone express sorrow or outrage. They have been largely ignored. Why aren’t conservatives speaking out about this? It flies in the face of conservative values. The stabbings are not patriotism, and were motivated by a rejection of religious freedom. The nooses do not make America safe. Vigilantism rejects the justice system our founding fathers created.  

Americans, we are fighting the same fight. This is the same fight. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The dignity of human life. Pluralism. Empathy. Civility. Our faith that democracy can solve our problems by bringing people with different views together and finding compromises so all can be free. If we only speak out when the other guy violates these principles, we’re going to lose this fight.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Rusty


Yes, I am aware that personal blogging isn’t a thing that is really done anymore. But here I am.

Writing has been something that has slipped from my life. It had previously been something that held me together, something that allowed me to process my feelings and exercise a part of my brain that had fewer outlets when I was spending most of my hours with magnificent little people whose most complex sentences consisted of, “mean Spiderman take pizza away!” Yet with the exception of occasional journal entries and Goodreads reviews, writing isn’t really a part of my life anymore.

Now, I have been given some writing opportunities that matter deeply to me, and I realize I am wildly out of practice. I feel like in the past few years, my thinking has become more nuanced and sophisticated. I’ve learned to ask better questions when things trouble me, to listen to a broader range of perspectives, and to be more patient with the process involved in gaining understanding. I’m more comfortable in my own skin, more willing to make mistakes on paths I care about travelling. Yet, when I sit in front of the computer to write, everything comes out slowly and awkwardly, and it frustrates me.

Turns out there’s something to that practice thing after all.

I’ve realized that if I want to maximize these opportunities, I need to invest more time into my craft. I can’t expect to sit down after a multi-year hiatus and write moving and persuasive prose.

I assume no one really comes here now, but regardless, I want to start writing again. It shouldn’t be this way, but putting pieces up here instead of in some folder makes me finish them instead of endlessly and aimlessly toying with them, and consider how the reader would respond to what I’ve written. Thank you for being my sounding board.