Sunday, January 22, 2017

Seeking reconciliation

So -- I spent inauguration day in my studio, burning incense and candles, meditating, reading, and slapping black gesso onto black canvases, covering some and, when my arms got too tired, just whipping the brushes around on others.

I'm not sure I would have marched yesterday even if I had been healthy, but with a sore foot and 15 black stitches under my eye (minor surgery to remove a basal cell carcinoma) I wasn't going anywhere.  But I watched.  And cried from time to time at the magnificence of it all.  And realized one of my paintings from the day before was a stylized version of our new president, so I photoshopped him into it.  I found myself hoping that if I worked with his face I could find a way to send him the love he so obviously lacks.  It hasn't worked yet.

And then, just before bedtime, I saw a post from an actress friend -- a single mother who shares her life and love with her disabled 20-something daughter -- reposting some inflammatory statements from one of the right-wing sites she subscribes too, bemoaning the fact that because she opposes abortion she would not have been welcome at the march.

I put a comment on there, saying that there were thousands of women marching, singing thousands of different songs, and that I felt certain her own beautiful voice (she does have one) would surely be welcome. And then I went to bed.

I woke up this morning still thinking about that.  Still wanting to talk with her about it, though I probably won't.  Because yes, there were lots of women there with lots of different issues to shout about.  But I still think the root of the objections is the disrespect el presidente has shown women.  And are we any better if we disrespect those women who disagree with us?

I would like to believe that most of the hundreds of thousands of women who marched yesterday would invite my actress friend to join them despite her views on abortion. Perhaps they could have some civil discourse while they walked together. Because, just as I believe children are better off if raised by two different parents, I think our country is better off if we can somehow hold differing points of view in balance, seeking compromise and collaboration and communication in order to find a way together. 

But I'm not sure how -- given the current fear-mongering on both sides of the aisle -- we will ever get back to that sense of balance, of respect for opposing views. Perhaps the gift of our current president's obvious demagoguery (if that's how you spell it) is that he'll become a common enemy, distaste for his tactics uniting a seriously divided electorate. But what an ugly path to unity that will be -- and I can't imagine that all that hatred won't just make the man's temper and behavior worse. And at what grievous cost to the rest of us, only time will tell.

I find this all so terribly sad.

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