This week we’re re-releasing 5 episodes around a theme of politics, government, and involvement. Here’s why…
It’s the week of the Fourth of July in the United States of America. While some years it’s a fairly straightforward holiday of stars and stripes, BBQs, and celebrating by blowing things up… this year the holiday feels different. I’m one of the millions of Americans watching with horror and fear as the dark underbelly of our country that has always existed, is now being embraced with open arms by many of those in leadership positions.
I try to not view the world with rose-colored glasses. I know that, judged by history, the US of A was founded on genocide of native peoples, grew by the oppression of others, has always had a slightly-more-than complicated relationship with race, and has a habit of giving second chances to Nazis. We’ve often been the bully of the world, and more than occasionally go back on our word to the world. As far as political experience goes, our little grand experiment in democracy is barely to the sullen teenager stage.
At the same time, the USA that I know is also a country that, for all of our teenage ennui, is a country of hope. Of promise. A country that, more often than not, can take halting steps forward. A country that lives on the promise of more. That has, in the past, embraced giving a helping hand up to their fellow humans. That has enshrined in its founding documents liberties to think, worship, speak, and communicate differently. That believes that all humans are created equal — and with a goodly amount of fighting — decided that equality belonged to more than just rich white landowners who espoused the ideal.
Lately, I’ve found myself at a loss. And in doing so, I’ve been returning to my comfort zone, which is ironically also a space of challenge. Asking questions. Not only how can this happen, how can you think like that, why do you believe that it’s OK to follow orders when orders demand that you rip families apart, why can’t one of the more wealthy countries in the world manage to rebuild its own territory devastated by natural disaster….
But also the kinds of questions that go one step deeper. The questions that truly investigate the feelings, responses, responsibility, and conversations that have far too long been avoided. I don’t know if conversation and questions alone are the way out of this mess — and, let’s be honest — it will likely not be any one thing. I do know that personally, fighting off the feeling of powerlessness starts with conversations internal and external. What do I have the ability to do? Have I asked hard questions of those who claim to represent me? Am I caring for myself in a way that allows me to run whatever very tiny leg of this marathon of creating communities that serve us all that I can? Why am I staying silent?
In other words, questions create an invitation to conversation. Conversation, just maybe, can create a little bit more understanding, even if that understanding is one that you simply cannot support someone or something any longer. If we create an environment where it’s OK to ask questions, and OK to change our minds, then maybe… just maybe… we can create an environment where growth as human beings is embraced by just enough people to tip the scales.
In that vein, this week, we’re re-releasing five episodes about government, involvement, and dreams this week. Having these conversations can be, at the very best, difficult, but in the week of a holiday intended to embrace all that the United States of America is, I’m hoping to embrace the best parts of that dream, and the conversations that got us here and will move us forward.
These questions are my hope. The hope of one queer, female, unique-as-hell snowflake with immigrants in the family and entrepreneurial American Dream blood running through her veins to the world. I invite you in to these conversations, and am truly curious what you think.