On talking and not talking

Where to begin?

We had a foster baby, a little newborn boy, at the end of October. We loved him immediately. For reasons outside our control, we only had him for a week. He broke us open, in the best worst way. 

Which is to say, as all the sages have, that suffering is part of living and often leads to a greater capacity for and understanding of joy.

I'll write more about him one day. Soon. But not yet.

And then there was the election, lolololol 

I made no secret of my own Never Trump feelings, so that's not a surprise to anyone. Yet here we are, and this thing is now the constant elephant in the room. There are people near and dear to me who were very pleased with the outcome. Meanwhile I and others who are near and dear to me feel as though we're in the Twilight Zone. 

How do you talk about weighty issues when you suddenly feel like a resident of Babel? Nobody is speaking the same language. The two parties don't even seem clear on their core principles.

None of it makes any sense.

again /əˈɡen/ adverb
once more. returning to a previous condition.

In the United States we're stuck with a party that can't figure out what it's all about and a party that has chosen a direction, and it's a terrible, retrograde one. It was literally part of the slogan: AGAIN. 

I don't think most people want to go back to a real, specific previous condition. I think we all have our nostalgia for an irretrievable past.

As millennials, we can fulfill that longing for backward time travel with innocuous flights of whimsy like the NES Classic (featuring 30 classic NES games!) or streaming our favorite childhood movies online.

For those who are wistful for less tangible things, there is no answer.

How does one return to feeling like an impregnable fortress of freedom after we all watched the towers come down? How does one feel financially secure when technology is creating redundancies faster than we can invent new, sustainable, living-wage-level jobs for those pushed out? 

And those are the easier of the questions. 

I do know this: name calling and intransigence aren't useful. The thing is, almost nothing is black and white. If you insist that it's all or nothing on either side of an issue, you're being obtuse. There are no easy answers to the kinds of questions that divide us.

I'm not saying we all let go of our principles. I'm saying I personally need to get past the urge to carry a paint pen around and write "loves pu$$y" on every Trump sign I see. Perhaps conservative friends should consider speaking out strongly and regularly and loudly against the white supremacists who are beginning to co-opt the Republican party.

No, don't let go of your principles. I'm saying we find a way to communicate our principles and decide how we can compromise them without losing them. (Don't misunderstand me; institutional discrimination and hate speech are never up for debate. These are not the issues I'm talking about.) Compromise is always the only way forward. And compromise, in my view, is the noblest outcome of politics.

To all of my readers, Trump voters and Hillary voters alike, I challenge you to Think of something you simply can't imagine compromising on. then imagine what compromise would look like. maybe, then, we can talk.