So America has officially been recognized as an oligarchy in several studies, for-profit prisons are creating a need for themselves at the cost of young black mens’ lives, racism is alive and well in the streets, school, and jails, the public schools in this country are being intentionally and systematically destroyed, there are persistent and intense attacks on the financial security of all segments of the middle class, the right wants to dismantle the health care system at all levels that are not privately insured, cities and states are broke from trying to fill the gaps left as the federal government withdraws support from its traditional roles. That is just one sentence of the things bothering me very deeply.
My mother was very politically active until she moved out of the DC area. She was in her 70s then and decided that the world was going to hell at too fast a clip and there wasn’t a thing she had been able to do to derail that trip in her 40 years of rather intense efforts. She became very disillusioned but I am not quite sure exactly what bothered her because by then we had come to terms with the fact that the two of us couldn’t discuss politics with each other. She just couldn’t accept that I didn’t agree with her point of view. She would call me all kinds of stupid, fool, dupe, and ignorant. Who wants to hear that?
I think that is a bit of what has happened to the national debate over most things. We talk with those who agree with our opinion and avoid arguing with those who don’t because we have all come to believe that there is no possibility of rationally discussing anything with the other side. I have seen several studies recently that talk about why we are so polarized and why it will probably get worse. I hope the conclusions are wrong. But, in the mean time it really does get worse because we won’t even try out of fear.
I have been reading Anne Lamot’s work and others who are optimistic and find grace and solace in the small things. I think I’m so burdened by the world that I need a break from it. I’ve stopped listening to the news except the headlines just to avoid knowing how many new lives have been taken by Islamic terrorists, ISAL or Boco Haram, or how many children stolen by The Christian terrorist, the Lord’s Resistance Army. I’m sick of the 60 year stalemate in Israel and don’t want to hear a peep out of the morons in DC who just support the oligarchy or some personal agenda instead of caring about this country as a whole.
I’ve been reading Anne Lamot’s work because it gives me hope. I read other writers and will follow links to pieces that give me hope even if it is that I can cook rice with less calories. There is good news. We really do do good things for each other and ourselves.
So I’m hunkering down in my home space of my house and my Friends meeting. Those are what I have. I’m pretty comfortable in both spaces. It is like so many things, if you leave malleable things there long enough they will conform to the shape of their containers. I love my meeting. I love the people and every time I see one of their beloved faces I feel like I shine a little brighter, like the moon off the sun. Truly, there is nothing like a Quaker meeting that has been around long enough for some members to see it as home, that place where they have to let you in. Like old friends, conversations pick up where they left off. We have a knitting circle where we solve all the problems of love and life. We lean forward to hear each other. Little is as affirming as that. I lead a discussion this past weekend and the lifting up about it is so rare. Even if at some level I did an awful job, they tell me it is exactly what was needed and that is exactly what I need. I don’t have to feel such a failure about voting rights, ISIL, anti-vac people, schools or any of that. My family leaned towards me.