Rubbing shoulders

Over the past couple of days, the wisest among us have taken a breath.

We’ve walked in the woods, made the bed, paid the bills, sat and stared at the wall for a bit.

If, like me, you live in the States, you are either mourning or celebrating, despairing or uncertainly trying to find your footing. It all depends on where you sit on the spectrum of belief and entitlement.

I have already tired of the back and forth. The liberal drama, the hand to forehead, dramatically fainting to the floor with declarations of the world going to hell in a handbasket. Will we really allow that to happen? No.

But so also have I tired of conservative Facebook friends who posted every nasty bit about Hillary—regardless of its veracity—during the campaign and now want to admonish us all to “unite” and “be good losers.” You mewled and complained the entire campaign, folks. Give the other side its chance.

This fiscal conservative / social liberal has had enough of both sides.

I want to quietly shove Trump’s 100-day plan in front of my conservative, Bible-banging friends and say, “Did you actually read this before you voted? Does your God agree with violating treaties with Native Americans, destroying greenspace and prejudice against someone because of a difference of belief?”

But, I will not. I have never seen a political argument change anyone’s mind. Never. Not in almost five decades on this planet. We should all save our spit.

What changes minds is human experience. My mother—a woman who considered herself not to be prejudiced—had issues with one of her daughters dating someone of color. And then, as life would have it, she had great grandchildren who were biracial. Guess what? I saw her change.

My white suburban friends did not even see their own stereotypes around Hispanics until I married one. The busboy / landscaper jokes stopped when they had a Latin man at their dinner table—one who was not an “illegal” Mexican, sported an MBA, hailed from a family of doctors and other professionals, and knew more about classical composers than everyone else at the table combined. The taco jokes stopped and I saw their beliefs change.

I have seen sexist Neanderthals at work change their tune when their daughters reach working age and have professional goals. Likewise, I have seen less than sensitive teens change their tune when their mother has another baby—and that baby has special needs.

Life will get to each of us at some point. In its own good time. It breaks down any wall that can be built, whether on a nation’s border or in our hearts.

I will continue to love my friends. Right now, it is hard to love some of the ones I see as seriously misguided. But I will. Because walls never solved anything.

It is only by rubbing shoulders–by being confronted with the different, the uncomfortable, the less than familiar—that we change. Love really does change all things.

I just wish it would stop taking its own damn sweet time. Let’s get there already.

 

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38 Comments Add yours

  1. Interesting to learn that you married a Hispanic, as I did (the 2nd time.) He has a Pulitzer Prize and worked 31 yrs at the NYT, covering 2 Olympics, 3 Presidents…a great career. It makes me insane when people assume anything other than competence when they see his skin color.

    1. candidkay says:

      Yes! Sad that when my son went to public school, I made sure that the teachers met me early on, as well as my then husband. Otherwise, they tended to assume that my son’s abilities or limited because his father must be a busboy or a landscaper. Not that there’s anything wrong with these jobs but it was a stereotype–his father was actually an options trader. Pure ignorance. And these were educated people. It was a quiet, silent bias I’m not even sure that they knew they had. I ended up pulling him and putting him in a school for gifted kids.

      1. The racism really really shocks me. I grew up in multi-culti Toronto where being someone of color usually just meant…you weren’t Caucasian. That was it. I hate the way Hispanics are viewed by too many Americans.

  2. I recently read a blog post by a doctor who (after 3 weeks of mourning) decided that she will try her utmost to dilute all untruths with the truth. In other words, she will not stop believing in those causes she believes in and to keep speaking out for them. I was deeply inspired by her approach. To fight against injustices we need more ‘good people’ speaking out. You are one of those people and I applaud you for writing this post at such a critical time in your nation’s history.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you. I agree with her approach. I’ll continue to operate as my normal, but with a heightened need of the necessity for citizen action on all sorts of fronts. If nothing else, I think that is what the result of this election has taught many of us. We can’t just sleep through it anymore.

  3. Aunt Beulah says:

    Thanks, Kay. I needed your rational, clear-headed point of view about our election. I, too have seen people change with knowledge and experience. Indeed, I have done so. As you said, we need to quit lecturing one another and start rubbing shoulders. Wonderful words.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you. I know it can be painful. Just stumbled across the blog of a very young woman who was waxing less than eloquent about why “Christians” should boycott gay designers. Oy. Rubbing shoulders is not always easy.

  4. Really love this, Kristine. Unfortunately, you’re right. Most people learn the hard way. They have to guided to understand the humanity of others. Let’s see what these next four years bring.

    1. candidkay says:

      Yes–no way through it but through it. Hopefully in a cooperative and less combative manner all around.

  5. srbottch says:

    Whew… you’re right about winning political arguments. What does ‘new led’ mean? As I’m often told, ‘change is good’. I wonder what R Frost would have to say about ‘walls’, today?

    1. candidkay says:

      If only Robert were here to comment! I’m sure he would have words of wisdom. I think you read “mewled” as “newled.”:)

      1. srbottch says:

        You might be right. (And) Oh, my bad (I can’t stand that term). All my best to you.

  6. Roy McCarthy says:

    Wise words indeed Kristine. It’s crazy in the first place that it’s the richest, most powerful and influential individuals that get to slug it out in America. Party politics and policies seem to come way second to personalities and their backers. But thankfully the checks and balances, whilst inhibiting far-reaching change, at least knock the edges off extremism.

    But if we believe in democracy then the ‘losers’ ought to be accepting the majority vote and getting on with the (hard enough) business of living.

    1. candidkay says:

      I agree, Roy. Democracy only works when we accept the results, whether we got our way or not. I think this election actually may do us good. It has brought to light what needs to heal, and no longer be hidden. It also has spurred citizen activism, which was sorely lacking. Hopefully, we all come through this more enlightened.

  7. I despair too Kristine, but these are wise words – let’s hope the experience of having to lead a diverse country will change some of Trump’s opinions.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, we can only hope. It is a position that demands gravitas. It’s sobering, to say the least.

  8. “Love really does change all things.” Well said, Kay. And I agree with the fact that political arguements don’t change people. May we all continue to press forward despite the obstacles that may soon be placed in our way. Because love and truth always triumph.

    1. candidkay says:

      I have no doubt we will all get there–and learn along the way.

  9. I am thinking of you and all your friends from a country so far away and what you say is so true. We all have our foibles and prejudices and have to learn to try and overcome them.
    your in friendship Lynne

    1. candidkay says:

      I bet today is a day you are glad you are far away from this craziness:).

  10. fritzdenis says:

    Thank you once again. I have a brother whom I love dearly who has diametrically opposed political beliefs to me. We’ve agreed to avoid political discussions as much as possible. They make us tense and lead us to momentarily forget how close we are. I think that he is deeply misguided and misinformed about a lot of issues, and he probably thinks the same of me. Yet I know that he is a kind and honorable man who is loved by many other good people.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, I am sure that makes Thanksgiving dinner conversations so much more enjoyable :-). And what a wise choice. Smart, kind people can have differing views and that does not mean they are not still smart, kind people.

  11. Walls never solved anything! So true Kristine. I read this quote yesterday and loved it! .” The love that binds us is always stronger than the differences that divide us.”

    1. candidkay says:

      I also like the quotes. Now if all of us here in America can just focus on the love instead of the differences, we might be able to accomplish something.

      1. That’s the answer.🙏🏻💚

  12. George says:

    Well said, Kay. I think we all need to take a well deserved breath and allow things to settle down and fall into place.
    Isn’t it great that we live in a country where we can all express our opinions as openly as we have. What’s not so great is that we sometimes do it without respect for each other’s thoughts.
    Why can’t we accept that maybe we’re all not right on every issue, that there may be another side and maybe, as is so often the case, things aren’t always what they appear to be.
    We cry for people on both sides of the aisle that sell their souls for votes and would sell ours as well.
    Politics is a game. At the end of the say what we have are the people we love and care about beside us and around us. If we let go of that, abuse that, ridicule that, for the sake of something that is temporary, than those people have lost much more than an election.

    1. candidkay says:

      Settling down and allowing things to fall into place would be a welcome relief. And it’s only two days after the election. I don’t think anyone party or person holds the answers to our problems. And I believe enough in the people of America that I do not think we will allow hate to stand or to rule. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, George.

  13. Wise words young lady…and ‘life’ does teach great patience, and in that, a love and appreciation because of what we have gone through.
    But right bloody now would be nice…at least just occasionally 😀

    1. candidkay says:

      That last bit–from your lips to God’s ears:).

  14. What changes human minds is experience. Yes, yes, yes. Nothing settles into our cells better than a real live experience. I describe the difference between reading about something and having an experience of it, like the difference between reading about versus having an orgasm. No comparison. And I love the experiences you wrote about. Just beautiful!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you:). Now, if we could all just get to work having our collective experiences asap:).

  15. Beautiful sentiment at a moment of excruciating tenderness.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you. Wish it weren’t so excruciating.

  16. Well said, dear K. It’s at times like these when we have to try harder. To remember that whether we like some people or not, we have to try to see their humanity. If we can’t at least make the effort, can we blame those on the other side who don’t? And I also think: can you imagine being God? When her/his children do such reckless, unkind things — yet still expect to be loved?

    1. candidkay says:

      You nailed it, Cynthia. As usual. It is in the shared humanity that we will all save ourselves. And yet, while that sounds like it should be the easiest piece to fathom, we all seem to find it the hardest.

  17. Amy says:

    And this is why I treasure you. Well said, my level-headed, wise, wonderful friend. xoxox

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you:). I am not sure all will treasure me after this post! But, it’s how I truly feel. Division never gets us anywhere–and figuring things out is messy, right? XOXO

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