Monday, March 6, 2017

Finding My Peace With Election 2016

It is Saturday and I am conducting a discussion seminar on “Overcoming The Polarization Of ….. Everything.” Most of the regular participants of New Horizons Counterculture Community Development Experiment are present with me. 

After close to one year with some of these dedicated people – and – of course more than ten  with my Beloved collaborator, Sue deVeer, we are beginning to welcome newcomers to our fold with ease; synergy would best describe how well we work together to present a discussion forum such as this. The sense of community unity we have, in and of itself, is a fine start to our event, held, once again, at the Frederick Friends Meeting House.

For starters, after a few opening comments from me, we get to know one another and the wishes attendees have for joining us on this chilly Saturday afternoon.

To the person, introducing themselves, people express distress about the current state of political and social conditions, on the heels of our 2016 presidential election. Yet, overall, we will spend our time skirting politics. Instead we will focus on personal reactions to what has occurred. And the effect the election fallout is having on close relationships.

To the person, each expresses a lack of ease with current circumstances, especially a disconnect with close family and friends. One woman poignantly voices the main thrust of hopes and desires; finding peace with the situation as it presently stands. After a few more introductory comments from me, suggesting the direction our program will take, attendees are willing to settle for improving communication skills with the hope that these may be able to increase their comfort, if only……, if only they can find ways to reach across current barriers.

So we begin. Dialogue versus debate as a practice takes center stage with people barely able to truly grasp the full significance of the exercise. But we make a start and everyone makes a respectable effort. By the end of our forum we have found an ease with one another that we may not readily find outside our meeting room, especially as most people say that these days it is even hard to acknowledge for whom you voted in the election without fear of stirring an upset.

I get high marks for content and presentation and feel gratified that New Horizons and myself have made a start going in the best post-election direction we can find; teaching the art of leaning in and, apparently, creating a safe, caring space within which others can make a beginning in that noble, often challenging, direction – leaning in.

I return home that night, get a good night’s sleep, waking to the joy of a sunshiny morning in the fresh mountain air. For my efforts of yesterday and all the pre-planning it took, I find myself, at last, feeling at peace with the election outcome and as at ease as I can be with the new administration under a president that I firmly believe "acts crazy" in my estimation regardless of what the psych tests might reveal.

I don’t like so many things now going on in our society and politics. I know I will remain cautious and vigilant for the coming term. And I don’t like that either.

I am tired of the shenanigans of both Republicans and Democrats but I’ll be darned if I will give up my faith in the Constitution of the United States and the American people and how these have successfully, until now, guided us to set our country aright in times it gets off. Barbra Streisand’s approach of blaming Donald Trump for her weight gain is far and away distasteful to me as an option for how to live my life under Trump or anyone else for that matter. 

As one of my old friends once said, "I am not about to allow politics to hijack my serenity!"

I voted for Hillary but sure didn’t want Bill back in the White House. I wasn’t too crazy about her either. They were just familiar and might not have been better at all to help get this country where it needs to go.

Next month New Horizons and myself will put on another Overcoming The Polarization of ….. Everything seminar, on April 1st. Our topic will be “Making Friends With The Enemy.”

I hope folks will join us as we get better and better, ourselves, and teach others the art of  “leaning in” in times of peace and in times of crisis in the U.S.A.

I think the magic lies in if we just keep talking as our friend Pastor George Earle, Jr. told us to do when we "saved Centennial."  

After all, just think about it; our First Amendment grants  us the freedom of speech. So if we are protesting, writing, teaching, lecturing as I am doing, meeting with others for dialogue as we did on Saturday, investigating and reporting as the media is doing, even arguing as lots of folks are now doing over social and poltical issues, we are exercising this freedom. This simple, yet not so easy track has brought us to where we are now, without too much bloodshed. 

Let's keep it up!

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