Time To Join Hands!

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Today I had lunch with a dear friend who I have known since the mid 1970’s. Over the years we rarely (if ever) discussed politics. She knew I was a Democrat and I was aware that she was a Republican. It never affected our friendship or any other aspect of our lives, at least not until Donald Trump ran for President. There were even times over the years when we didn’t vote strictly down party lines but voted for who we thought was best for the country, or best for our state. Mostly we kept pretty quiet about our personal political viewpoints. Perhaps because we were teachers and as educators we knew that personal views on religion or politics were subjects that weren’t appropriate for the classroom or open for discussion in school. Students, teachers, and parents never knew our individual political viewpoints. And it didn’t matter because we were consummate professionals.

But, this last election was different. We both have been retired for a few years now and when things got heated during the election we chose not to discuss the candidates simply because we didn’t want politics to ruin our friendship.

However, today she blurted out a comment that shocked me to the core and made me wonder if that’s how a majority of Republicans feel. Or perhaps how people in general think.
She told me she thought that I worried way too much about everyone and everything and that all she really cared about was what affected her personally. That stunned me! I explained that I felt today, more than ever, we HAD to care about our fellow man if democracy was going to survive. I let her know that while she might not be suffering or discriminated against today, tomorrow it might be her without healthcare or she could be the one excluded from living in certain places due to age discrimination or religious exclusion. I tried to share how wrong bigotry of any kind was, but I still could not get through to her.

I wonder if that’s what has happened to Congress and to many of our citizens in general. That they only care about themselves and what affects them. Not about anybody else. Not even their constituents. and that thought hurts me to the core.

Those are NOT the principles our founding fathers wrote about when they referred to us as “WE THE PEOPLE”. This is not the United States of Lesley or Susie or Teddy. It’s the United States of America and ALL of us matter. We HAVE to care about one another. If we don’t, we not only lose our freedom, we lose our humanity.

I remember seeing a photo taken during WWII where a group of women were stripped naked and they were in a long line waiting to be shot. Their babies clung tightly to their mothers’ chests as they tried to find comfort. Naked, they all stood together. The rich Indistinguishable from the poor. Their only link being that they were Jewish Women.
If WE all stood together naked, hand in hand, what would we see? Nothing but a group of human beings together. Neither rich nor poor, just people. Americans! There would be no major differences between us. We are all human. Some taller, some shorter, some smarter, some prettier, some more athletic, others more talented, but all human beings. We Americans need to unite not fight. In the end we are no better than the next person. We cannot let 45 divide us. That is what dictators do.  “WE THE PEOPLE” have no choice but to join hands and unite if we intend to hold on to our precious inalienable rights!

Closeup of business colleagues laughing and standing

 

20 thoughts on “Time To Join Hands!

  1. What you say and the sensitive way you express your feelings is so much to the point. I feel that we are in a period when all our politicians are self- serving rather than speaking and acting for their constituents. It has probably never essentially been any different, but the state of flux we are left in at the moment seems much more challenging than I ever remember, and, to my mind there appears little hope for any radical change short of, god forbid, outright revolution. I speak as an Englishman who has lived long enough to remember what was fought for in WW2, and I am saddened by the lack of sincerity which to me comes from politics of both the left and the right. False news is not only the ‘phrase of the year’, it is the death of honesty.

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    1. Thank you for your comments Roland. You stated exactly how I feel too. “The death of honesty”. A perfect way to sum up what is happening around the world. It breaks my heart. My father was a World War II hero and purple heart recipient. A noble officer who fought Nazi’s. I protested for freedom and equality in the late 1960’s and suddenly now have to protest again for the sake of my grandchildren’s future. I too have never seen anything like what is happening now. These are trying times indeed. I don’t know whether my youth made me look to our leaders as heroes or if they really were. Hillary’s loss devastated me. I truly hope we can recover from this last election and move forward and once again find honesty.

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  2. Lesley, I am so glad you visited my post as I might not otherwise have seen this so sensitive post on a subject I carefully have avoided because it is so inflammatory.
    Your story via you and your best friend and your shock at her answer gives a clearer understanding than any argument.
    We are all human beings and should by right have the same respect, rights and understanding. I wrote a poem the day your president was elected but didn’t post it as there were so much division.
    I hope one day we all will find that freedom comes through freeing yourself from such selfish bonds. Open our arms.
    miriam

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    1. Dolphini Thank you so much for writing this. I hope to one day read your poem that you did not post. Be brave and post it. I find that I am now once again reclaiming my youthful bravery. I was in college in the late 1960’s and protested and fought against the Viet Nam war as my friends were dying orcoming back in a box or maimed. So while I stood strong and protested in 1967 and 68 and until the war ended, I am now 68 and once again doing the same thing. I have to do this you see. Because I have grand children now and they MUST understand that their grandmother was a feisty woman who fought for equality and freedom for all. I may not be that teenager any more but I am still carrying her spirit deep within me. Tonight is Halloween night in the USA. I will be walking with my grandchildren who are going trick or treating. And I will be dressed as a protesting Hippie with bell bottoms, a fringed vest and a peace sign. Never give us the fight for freedom! Peace and love.

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      1. You are so right Lesley and believe me, it is only on the net I am possibly overcautious.:) Courage!
        I would love a photo of you in this get up on Halloween. Love it. Bellbottoms and a fringed vest; I had the same and
        still think it was a fun dress code.
        miriam

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  3. So beautifully said, Lesley. I’m with you. I’ve read a lot about efforts to take down Civil War statues, and I’m shocked that people don’t get it. And I’m from The South. I think the Atlantic posted an article recently, though, about how the University of Mississippi is handling a similar situation with grace. I’m also inspired by the mayor of New Orleans. I hold on to these images because they give me hope and some degree of faith in some of humanity. But I’m appalled and saddened by the rest. (I’m not sure if that article was in the Atlantic or somewhere else, so don’t quote me on that.) I try to actively cultivate kindness in my thoughts and actions, but it isn’t always easy. I enjoyed reading this so much. You seem like a kindred spirit.

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    1. Thank you Laura. I agree. We indeed must be kindred spirits. Hopefully enough of us joining together will turn things around and we can get things back on track in this country and start moving in the right direction again. Division is not going to help us move forward. Sadly, our leaders are so far removed from “The people.” I am retired now from teaching but still work with children part time. If they could spend a day in a classroom filled with a variety of bright and enthusiastic little faces of all colors and backgrounds maybe they would understand that we are more alike than different. And that everyone deserves the same opportunities.

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  4. Davy D

    WordPress has been playing up for me lately and I missed this post, so apologies Lesley for getting in on the conversation late. The same is happening with politics over here in the UK. The current governments policies are so divisive it is becoming grab what you can, whilst you can. A few months ago a couple of academics from the USA were discussing the situation here in the UK and said we were on the cusp of a civil war if things continued in the direction they were going. They were drawing parallels with things happening with the Trump administration. I agree with you in that we have to start going beyond these divisive politics and think about each other more. Thank you for the post.

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    1. We certainly do need to start thinking about one another more. But at least you don’t have D.T. as your leader. He embarrasses us every single day. His base of supporters are blind to reason and knowledge, and none of them have a clue about our Constitution or what democracy entails. These are scary times worldwide! Thanks for your response.

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      1. Davy D

        Lesley, we have Theresa May. Her and DT are well suited to one another but both are indicative of the way Western politics is moving.

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  5. Lesley, I share your deep distress at the increasing number of people out there for whom greed and/or hatred dictate their actions. Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner satirized it in their famous routine “The 2000 Year Old Man” with the bit about every cave having its own national anthem. And what was the anthem for those in Cave 76? “Let ’em all go to hell except Cave 76!’”
    Of course, their “worldview” is nothing new, as your example of German fascism shows, but it feels even more destructive at a time when we should all be banding together, worldwide, to work to preserve the environment, and fight against the impoverishment/domination of the many by a tiny handful of billionaires.
    I think the only solution is to keep speaking out. I often wonder how differently the Hitler”s Germany might have played out if millions had spoken up.

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    1. Perfectly stated! Your references are spot on. As we review history we find many news articles from long ago where countless informed individuals tryied to warn the public about Hitler and the people didn’t listen. Perhaps this time around with the help of social media we can reach the masses and prevent genocide. I sure hope so.

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