November 5, 2012
The following is a letter I needed to write to friends after an unsettling conversation. It is timely – in that it refers to Tuesdays elections. I hope some find it helpful if they are faced with the sorts of difficulties it addresses – questions and discomfort that come up when we find ourselves disagreeing with friends. Those times when we feel required to choose between people and ideas – between friends and our political heroes.
First – let’s be sure that you know that from where I stand, our friendship is a real thing – much more than just a word. And I believe our friendship is safe even though I hold a different perspective on the broad subject, (there’s a tasteless pun for you), of women’s rights – women’s issues – and the political candidates – one of whom we will elect as our next president. At certain times and this week is one of them – at times like this it’s easy to find ourselves divided. Right now we are in need of clarity, for insight – we need to to know which way is best – which way will lead us to the light which at present we cannot see at the end of the tunnel. Strangely, our respect and desire for truth finds us feeling as though surrounded by anything but clarity and unsure who we should trust. So let me do what I can to help – I’ll shed a little light and offer a bit of clarity.
With this letter I am confirming what I said at our last gathering – I really do see different answers and hold a different perspective than the rest of you to the important questions that face us as a nation. Specifically , as you represent the perspective and concerns of American women. I will vote for the Republican presidential candidate.Having said this you may now feel that you are justified if not obligated not to trust me or to not include me in your company. And, you may also wonder if it was necessary for me to drag us right to edge of this cliff and invite you to push me off! But it’s true, even if not a truth we are comfortable admitting – it is true that our feelings on these issues run very deep – sometimes so deep that we feel and act as if they – our feelings – are beyond our control. At these times we may not have feelings – our feelings “have” us! We may feel that we must be true to the way we “feel” and act in accordance with deeply held convictions. As a result of political thoughts revealed – friendship is often broken. Though to be fair, for the same reason – friendships also begin.
So, depending, on the strength and direction of your convictions – your political thoughts and opinions – on this thin thread – our future as friends now hangs. Wow! I’d ask that you please forgive the dramatics. But the truth is, I enjoyed reaching down this monsters throat and dragging it’s ugly heart back up so that we can all take a good, long, clarifying look!
Then again…our situation might not be as dire as I’ve made it seem. Let me offer an alternative tailor made for you and applicable to myself or anyone else who will use it. As members of Al-Anon you came to believe that a Power greater than yourselves could restore you. One of the names for this Power is Truth. Another name is Love. There is a Power greater than ourselves that can, as we surrender to it – that will, if we give it our allegiance – lead us beyond differences of opinion. This Power will strengthen, even restore friendships even as it is working in me – making of me, a better friend. By our choice to surrender, we do not place this power above us – we simply recognize that it has always been higher than all of us.
Having surrendered our friendship to this higher Power, we will not all suddenly believe the same thing. Instead, I think we may begin to see ways to hold different opinions without compromising our integrity or threatening friendships. Actually I think that the view from this higher road will show us options that steer our seeming different opinions on a steadily converging path. So – with this act of surrender I confidently say to you that I am your friend and that the words I am writing to you are true. And – you are, of course, free to join me or not!
Women’s issues were the flash point that sparked our discomfort. So let me remind you that I believe that women’s issues in America are very important to American women. But I also believe that women’s issues in other nations are, not just as important – by comparison, they are more important because lives are at risk. Often, literally, immediately. It could be argued that if American women put their considerable influence and resources to work for their sisters oversees, the divine reward – the karmic rebound would be such that problems at home would be difficult to find rather than difficult to solve. Overstatement – possibly. But given the way problem solvers feel about themselves – the radiance of a warrior home from heroic effort in service of a noble cause -this is a difficult person to deny and a very attractive work application candidate.
In addition to women’s issues there are many other concerns – and for the people they effect – men and women – old and young… any threat to life or obstacle to legitimate achievements is vital to that person and worthy of my concern. May they too be blessed to be given the chance to help someone else and for some time short of long, loose themselves in loving service.
Follow the link to get a look at a really inspiring person – a woman who has championed issues of concern to women in very different, difficult areas of the world.
Yesss! “Just a distraction.” Just another meaningless phrase to separate and polarize people who had no idea there was a “war” on them in the first place. Plenty of women in this world are truly oppressed. American women, on the other hand, are told to base their political choices on the candidate who will give them free birth control. I am not oppressed. I am an American woman who went to college, paid back my student loans and went to work for 35 years because we have those rights in this country. How am I oppressed? It’s nonsense, just a distraction.
The reason this election process has become so bitter is because this polarization technique has been heavily capitalized on by a President who said a few days ago and I quote: “Don’t boo, vote! The best revenge is your vote!” Revenge? This is a democracy, is it not? Differences of opinion do not need to be revenged, they can be heard, respected, respectfully disagreed with. Revenged? Oh please. We are sinking into the thought patterns of the radical Islamist when we think in terms of revenge for differences of opinion. We need not fight this way among ourselves. We can do better.
Polly – A really appreciate your insight. Revenge is beneath us. To survive we must be united. this is not simply high minded wishful thinking. We must come back together as a national family. We do not need to agree – but we must respect each other. This is a step higher that agreeing to disagree – can;t exactly explain that – but the phrase sets my teeth on edge. Let it be enough to say, that we must respect one another!
Thanks for the comment!
Well said. Being a woman, I am triggered by the woman’s issues, but that is only one small part of the big picture. We want to believe what these candidates are telling us. If you really want to think about it and admit it to you self, they All lie That seems to be OK with us We overlook their integrity as long as we get what we want. Whoever you vote for is just an allusion of what you really want, not for our country, but for your own agenda.
Anita hits a major cord… There is much to be gained by increasing the width and depth of our perspective. And – aren’t we so very good and getting better at the art of projection!
But even the simple acts of increasing perspective and copping to our projections makes us just that much more free. In the end “They” whoever they might be are not our salvation. Telling the truth – facing up to the truth… is.
Let us hope that the politicians can really reach across the aisle and work together for a change. Will that happen? Let us hope that it isn’t the same old self serving politics. My friends and even within my own family support opposite political parties. However, we have discussed the issues pro and con but still respect each others opinions. That is what it is all about. RESPECT! As to women’s rights I think we have come a long way. I personally have not found it a problem. I do weep for the terrible treatment of many women in third world countries. Education is part of te answer to alleviate the problem.
The election is over, for now. The fictitious “war on women” will hopefully become extinct. Thinking women (I count myself among them), know it was a “crock” to distract from the larger issues facing all of us. How disappointing that it was largely effective. I also appreciate your insight Tom.
Yes – the election is over – but this issue continues to hold our interest and generate thoughtful responses.
Thanks for this comment!
After being raped in my own home from a break-in through my closed window at weapon point…..
And after volunteering major chunks of my life in third world countries from Fiji to Vietnam to Bhutan with mothers and their handicapped babies……… I take extreme offense at Republicans such as yourself and your compatriots Akin et al to suggest that if I had become pregnant from the rape, I would be forced into an illegal abortion or forced to raise the child as God’s will. Karmic??? I don’t think so, the world is not always fair and there should be some escapes. your friend in non-political arena, joan
Joan, You are just the person who I had hoped would respond. For what it is worth – coming from a stranger – I offer you my sympathy, and regret to hear what has happened to you – what for you is not hypothetical. And I am very impressed to read that you went out in service, to help other women confront the traumatic repercussions that they must live with as a result of criminal acts committed against them.
Again – what you experienced was criminal. And as such – outside of what is currently being considered in the discussion of the existence or not of a war on women.