Politics, Anger and Likeness

I don’t particularly enjoy talking about politics.
Mainly because it rarely feels like a discussion, instead feeling like a wild west shootout where everyone’s guns are blazing. My suspicion is that even those of you who enjoy a good political conversation have tired of it in recent days. Some of you may have even said, “I’m out. Wake me up on November 9th.

Seems like the entire country is wondering how we got into this mess, no?

But yesterday I was listening to a podcast in which the speaker reminded me that the root word for politics is politicas, meaning “citizen.” In other words, when we are talking about politics, we’re talking about more than red states and blue states. We’re talking about how we arrange our shared life together. We’re talking about how we make sure everyone has access to the vital things in life like food, water and opportunity.

So as Rob says in his podcast, if you enjoy having water at your house to take a shower and wash your dishes, you are interested in politics.

Now I realize you may be worn out by the political season. You’re afraid to even open up Facebook because of what you may be bombarded with there. (Who ever thought we would so miss videos of easy-to-make family dishes or people scaring their cats?)

But I want to talk about our political climate for just a minute because I think it points to something much deeper and more important than any vote you will cast in the coming weeks.

Because there’s something I’ve picked up on in the last few months that I find incredibly interesting. And it goes back beyond Access Hollywood videos or WikiLeaks findings.

It’s anger.
So much anger.

And not just from one party or demographic, but from everywhere.

I saw it in the “Feel the Bern” movement as Senator Sanders hit a chord with a large portion of our society who feel like the financial deck is stacked against them. Those who felt like the political elite have abandoned the middle and lower classes.

I see the anger simmering below the surface at Trump rallies, where people who are jaded about the whole political system root for a man they view as an outsider who will set things right. People who don’t feel like they’re being represented by their government.

Two groups of people who are on the polar opposites of the political spectrum, yet are crying out for the exact same reasons. They may not agree on the answers on how to solve it. In fact, they may have radically different views on how to solve this mess.

But they’re feeling the exact same things.

Anger isn’t always a bad thing. It’s often a reaction to the very real inequities in life. The problem occurs when we allow our frustrations to divide us rather than bring us together. We let it lead us to pointed fingers rather than open dialogues.

I can’t help but think that if we’d just listen to one another rather than shouting back and forth that we’d discover we are so much more alike than we are different.

We could have discussions and understanding rather than accusations and insults.

People keep talking about how divided our country is.
I think we’re more alike than we are aware.

If you watched the Rio Olympics, you likely saw an Apple commercial featuring a beautiful poem by Maya Angelou. The name of that poem is “Human Family”, and I think she echoes these thoughts in much more profound language. So I leave you with her words.

We are alike, my friends. More than we realize.

“Human Family”
by Maya Angelou

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I’ve seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I’ve not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England’s moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we’re the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

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