So, last Friday night, I went to NTB after work to get my oil changed (I'd received a coupon in the mail for a 16-dollar oil change from them, but I was bracing myself for them to try to sell me everything from windshield wiper blades to new tires...and I was not wrong). I was sitting in the waiting room with a few other people, reading my book--Looking for Mary by Beverly Donofrio--about a woman, a lapsed Catholic, who first begins collecting Virgin Mary memorabilia, then traveling the world to visit spots where the Virgin has appeared; I haven't finished the book, but ultimately, I think, it’s about learning to forgive and love. Anyway, gradually the conversation of two other people in the room began to penetrate my consciousness. It doesn't matter what side of politics they were on, or even that their views tended to differ from my own. What struck me was the hatred I heard coming out of them, and the complete refusal to consider any point of view other than their own.
My first impulse was to flare up myself. But I thought about the book I was reading, about a mother's all-encompassing love, and her pain when her children hurt each other. I thought, "Send them love. Just send them love." That's what I tried to do. When one of them left, and the other, a woman, turned to me and without preamble launched into a recitation of her opinions, I listened, I nodded. I came home and cried because I've been given the gift (the curse?) of seeing other people's points of view better than most, feeling other people's pain, and I often feel like my purpose is to try to bridge the gaps--but sometimes it's so hard to know how to do that.
I've already written more than a lot of people will have the patience to read, I know. We all have busy lives and so much going on. But if you can find or make the time, please read this article, if only for some insight into another way of seeing things--one with which you may or may not agree, and that's fine--but I thought it was very eloquently put, and it did a good job of putting my own feelings, particularly what I felt so strongly last week at NTB, into coherent words.
If nothing else, here’s this one paragraph:
“We're all born wanting the freedom to imagine a better and more beautiful future. But modern America has become a place so drearily confining and predictable that it chokes the life out of that built-in desire. Everything from our pop culture to our economy to our politics feels oppressive and unresponsive. We see 10 million commercials a day, and every day is the same life-killing chase for money, money and more money; the only thing that changes from minute to minute is that every tick of the clock brings with it another space-age vendor dreaming up some new way to try to sell you something or reach into your pocket. The relentless sameness of the two-party political system is beginning to feel like a Jacob's Ladder nightmare with no end; we're entering another turn on the four-year merry-go-round, and the thought of having to try to get excited about yet another minor quadrennial shift in the direction of one or the other pole of alienating corporate full-of-shitness is enough to make anyone want to smash his own hand flat with a hammer.”
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