There are elephants of varying sizes in almost every room I enter—but not at home, thank goodness not at home. Here we speak openly and disagree respectfully, but out there there are things I dare not speak of lest I face judgment or attack by one faction or another (by “out there” I mean the world outside the sanctuary of my home and the virtual online world that’s fraught with landmines).
Fear of the consequences of acknowledging the elephants leaves me feeling inauthentic in relationships. I have donned a figurative mask again after working hard for many years to cast it aside. I make an intentional effort to maintain a diverse set of connections but, if I’m honest, it’s not always easy. I’m beginning to understand the attraction of tribalism.
I am deeply concerned for my country and the world, and more concerned for those I love, as I see deep chasms appearing all over the place. Us vs them. A is the only correct stance. B isn’t worth taking the time to consider. C is more important than D. Those who lean toward E are _________ (fill in the blank with the judgmental slur of your choice).
We forget there are real people behind A, B, C, D, E, and every other cause or position or belief. Real. People. People who hurt and bleed and just want someone to hear them. My parents were of the mind that one didn’t talk about religion or politics in public. Now, it sometimes seems like that’s all we talk about.
I don’t know. I just don’t know.
What I do know is that spring is coming and maybe we’ll find other neutral territories to connect on when the sun is shining and green things are growing. I hope. Oh, how I hope.