“If we are to survive the most divisive presidency in generations, it’s up to us to climb down our family trees and better understand how we got here. It’s up to us to ask fellow countrymen “where are you from?” with a lot less fear and a lot more wonder.” – Bill Weir, States of Change
We need to understand what drives us, our opinions, our ways of being and thinking in the world. Why do we denigrate people with views different from our own? Where is the wonder? Where is the respect? Where is the humanity?
I was reading the transcript from CNN’s Bill Weir’s program called, States of Change, Homecoming. His show, one I haven’t watched all the way through to fully disclose, is an exploration of his roots. They are interesting to be sure, but that’s not what grabbed me. What grabbed me was the thought that we have opinions, some virulent, strong, unchanged despite our best efforts to be open. Why is that? Where do they come from? Shouldn’t we be interested in that?
It’s easy to pronounce our opinions, to put down other opinions, to think we know best and act as if we do by spouting and re-posting article after article or meme after meme putting other’s opinions, lives, views, down. Way down. That’s low if you think about it. Our opinions are made. Made from our experiences and our feelings about those experiences. We forget this. We forget to put that big old magnifying glass we so easily point at others back at ourselves. We are, none of us, without flaws. Our views, even though we might passionately hold them, are not rule of law, are not even always a greater truth. They are just our truth, our views. We forget that.
What I’m saying is, we should be looking at our own views, at ourselves, to really examine why we feel as we do, and then, shockingly, be open to others who might feel differently. They’ve had different experiences, different influences, leading to different views. It doesn’t make them, or ourselves, idiots. Just makes us humans with different opinions. I can believe something to be true that you do not believe it true, and vice versa, you can believe something I don’t believe, that’s OK. Different opinions lead to varying solutions. Varying solutions solve our problems.
I was also watching coverage of the Harvey rescue efforts. Two rescued sisters were interviewed. During that interview, they said they thought it was beautiful that in these divisive times, when people are standing firmly on either side of an invisible line, both racially and politically, that all is forgotten and the community comes together, no color lines, no political lines, to help. It is beautiful. What’s sad is that we need some disaster to remind us that we’re all human, that we should and do love each other. No qualifiers.
I don’t know what all this means. I feel I need to shout out into the void occasionally to say, remember… remember to love. Remember to be kind. Remember we’re, most of us, just doing the best we can to live our lives. Remember we’re different, we’ve had different experiences. Remember that’s OK. Forget fear. Remember to have wonder. Remember to be fair. Remember to be gracious. Remember to be gentle with the feelings of others. Remember. If we can, if we do, everything changes. Love prevails, even in small moments, or big ones, like what’s happening in Houston.
We need to remember.