I've been opening up FaceBook more in the last two weeks than I ever have in the last 18 months.
I am not surprised to see the many comments on politics, war, the economy; the views from the right, left and middle.
What has consistently caught me off guard, are the number and consistency of posts, which, in some way, refer to all the ways in which people have been harmed by others and the need, expressed in various and numerable posts, to walk away from these people, to wait for karma to be exacted on their lives, to wash hands of toxic people, to, in some way "not put up with it any longer."
This may be sage advice. On the other hand, it makes me wonder at (1) the number of people walking around seriously wounded with no better solution than to be rid of the "other," and (2) what kind of influence, in the end, this has had on our political, economic and social views of the world.
Yesterday, I sent an email to a woman I'd known in high school. We've taken, it was clear, viewing her FB page, separate ways, politically - perhaps economically and socially. I desired to friend her because I'd known her to be extremely intelligent and had, in my youth, admired her early entrance in to what was political dialogue.
As a sort of warning, I'd let her know about my own brand of "progressive liberalism," in case she might not be amenable to a FB friend with views such as mine. I fully expected she'd decline the friendship.
Surprised, I read her email back to me, a complimentary (to me) view of who I might be, her view that being FB friends was a good idea and her last line that "we might be surprised at how much we, indeed, might hold in common."
It was a great wake up call. Especially, as I find myself further entrenched in my defense of President Obama and my, I feel, considered worry, over what we might be heading toward with the possibility of Mitt Romney as President of this country. Because of my strong "social responsibility" views, what Romney's election could mean to the struggling and marginalized.
And, it made me think of my, right or wrong, belief that the Republican Party has refused to consider the options which Obama has presented and dismissed him out of hand because lines have been drawn in the proverbial sand. The refusal, I suppose, both of myself and of both parties to find common ground and to try to work from common ground toward something which might represent all which reconciliation and compromise purport to be about.
So, this morning I'm thinking about all these blurbs on FB from people who have been harmed in some way and offering advice on how to cut ties with those who have hurt them. Don't misunderstand, as a survivor of domestic violence, friends who have turned on me without explanation, abandonment and other disappointments of the kind found in humanity - I fully realize that some relationships become, for various reasons, untenable.
On the other hand, are we to discard the relationship of politics, social justice, views on the economy - especially when it comes to the governance of a country once viewed as the greatest in the world - as something from which we simply walk away when disagreement occurs?
Or is there a nobility and a general compassion to be found in those who will not leave the table when a course, in the meal, to their disliking is served? Is there a dignity and etiquette to be acquired in reconsideration of pre formed ideas? Is there gain to be had in discussing what is at heart in the shared meal, in the first place.
Like it or not, cliche as it might seem, in the end, we are all in this together. My friend from high school, whether she meant to or not, brought this home to me.
We may disagree, we may hurt one another, intentionally or not, at times; we may feel that we are disparate in opinion and goals. But in the end, I believe, we are destined to sit or stand at the same banquet table.
I think I'd rather share the meal, knowing someone hates the Caesar salad, knowing another is disgusted by beef on a platter, knowing the wine may taste sour in another's mouth.
But here's the thing, in my mind - isn't what is important - the simple fact that we're here together and that it might be the better part of whatever valor any of us possess - to get to the heart of meal. Which is to say, to find some way in which all are fed.
Which is also to say - to get to the heart of one another, perhaps holding hands, perhaps coming to reconciliation and the celebration of all we are. Together. United. Statesmen and women of our varied views with compassion for all.