Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Five Things We Can Do About Politics Today
Yesterday, I said I might go on a political rant. I might, at some point, but first I want to make something clear. No matter what opinion or information I share, someone may be tempted to either think that I'm "part of the right" or "a leftist". Whatever I may (or may not) share in the future, let me say this clearly first: I see myself as neither left nor right. You can label me any way you want if it makes you feel good (though it might hurt my feelings); but I'm just little old me with all my experiences and a lot of love in my heart, and sometimes a lot of frustration too.
As many of my friends and family know, when I was 18, I went to a cult. I'm not proud of that; but I learned a lot from it. I learned how dangerous it can be to focus too much on the negatives in the world. Why? It actually makes a person more vulnerable! I also learned it can be hazardous to think of people of other "groups" than "our own" as being "the other". Most of all, I learned the grave danger of people adhering to one group, or one man, as having all the answers, as being completely *right*, while that man or group adamantly tells us that everyone else is *wrong*.
If you voted against our current president, fight the issues that are most important to you, but please be careful to take care of yourselves too, lest you become more vulnerable from fighting the fight, and burn out.
If you voted for him, please understand that not everything about any man or any party can possibly be right.
Yes, truth in disclosure, in case you didn't see, or don't remember, my posts from last summer or fall, personally, I could not in conscience vote for President Trump. But my words here are for both those who did and those who didn't. We are all in this country together, and let's get through this.
First, let's be aware of self-care…and family care. By self-care, I don't mean selfishness. My desires are not more important than someone else's needs. But, for the most part, only I can keep myself physically and emotionally healthy. And for some people, caring for themselves and their families are all they have the resources to handle at a particular time.
Secondly, let's be there for those in need, in whatever ways we are called to and able to, whether that's physical help or moral support, prayer support, or encouragement. (And let's try to "do no harm". Personally, I don't find name calling to be very encouraging. Sorry, but that's a pet peeve of mine.)
Thirdly, let's be knowledgeable about a topic before we talk about it or share about it. I'll admit it. I have occasionally shared something because it seemed to be "on my side" about an issue, before checking it out thoroughly. The fact that a post, an article, or a meme is in agreement with what we believe does not guarantee that it contains factual information. Also, memes can be untimely. A number that was true one day may literally be 10 times different a few days later. I say this for myself too: if we're not sure, let's move to a topic about which we are more knowledgeable, and share things which we have checked out very carefully. Or, if we're too tired to do that, we can always share - that day - about the weather, cloud formations, recipes, pretty flowers, pets, and of course, coffee.
Fourthly, let's be willing to step away from loyalty to party lines and loyalty to individual leaders to look at individual issues. Maybe you agree with this politician or party about this situation, but what about this other issue? Might your friend who is concerned about it have a point?
Fifth, let's be most involved with those particular issues which are most important to us - or which we have a talent for - in whatever healthy ways we can. It might be easy enough to sign a petition or make a phone call to a senator but when we do the larger things, we might need to remember that no one can be all things or do all things, remembering, again, the importance of self-care, which is not taking care of myself as narcissistically important while other people are not, but loving ourselves, and opening ourselves to be compassionate to others.