Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Twos and Twos and Twos

I try so hard to be publicly apolitical. Because of my family, the long and bumpy journey I've had toward the values I hold now, the huge variation in how other people's values are formed, the many places and socioeconomic circumstances I've lived in and the different kinds of people I've known. I'm a strident feminist, but I'm not a strident liberal or a strident conservative, and I never have been, and I have no interest in it. I'm too invested in how other people see the world for that.

I put this on Facebook last night at 10:40, after it looked like Hillary wasn't going to win Pennsylvania. A friend asked me to put it in a shareable form. I hope it brings you comfort.


Listen. Shh, shh. I know. Listen, my love.

That sound is the crack of a mighty heart. A nation that does not know itself: an intelligentsia too hypnotized by the lightshow inside its own skull to know what lies beyond, in the great outdoors; a proletariat too lost and desperate to know anything but its own wailing - that things used to be different.

Things used to be better.

Things used to be united.

No. Never true.

We are born by dividing ourselves, infinitely, cell by cell into zygote and fetus and infant. We come to be in twos and twos.

We do not unite by agreeing with each other, or by fooling ourselves that we agree with each other by listening to echoes. That is Narcissus starving by the pool. We unite by hearing each other, reaching out to each other. We hold hands across the void. We speak and listen and that way, we walk on. We die alone, but we walk together, always. Why, tonight, do we choose to weep and walk alone?

Any mother of more than one child does not care who started it. She wants to see her children embrace, not claw at each other for victory.

These words might taste bitter to you now. But how did we get here? We divided, we strutted, we cliqued up. The people who have left Westboro have left because of patient talkers on the other side of the aisle, not because they were ignored or shouted at.

This is an ache you are hearing. It is a howl from the heart of this terrible, wonderful place. It is a demand for a hearing. Why such insistence? Did you ever wonder? What chamber has echoed to them, and to me, that we are all so ashen at the proof of this howl?

The willfully deaf cannot empathize even with shouters.

Listen. Shh. Listen.