There is room at the table.
Hostess to me: “Politics? Party of one. Your table is ready.”
(Scene: I am seated alone at a table that could accommodate several more. An acquaintance, on her way in, makes eye contact with me. I stop her, smile, and say…)
Hi! Fancy meeting you here. Do you come here often? (aside: I wouldn’t actually say that but I couldn’t resist.)
Me again: Please. Pull up a seat. Join me!
Me: Oh… No?
(She shoots an apologetic sideways glance to another table)
Me: Ah, I see. You’re with another party… No worries… I get that a lot.
If you’re not with us, you’re against us!
I’m in the strange minority that struggles to identify with a sole political party and hence, neither really wants me in their camp… Huh. I’ve never stated it in quite that way… and feel like I’ve just come out of the political closet.
I see the good and evil on both sides of the aisle. I vacillate between parties depending on the issue at hand and I’m stymied by the fact that we’ve become a nation so divisive that we shame those who dare to meander over political lines.
The M.O. seems to be “If you’re not with us, you’re against us!” It’s as if there’s more focus on the division than on the issues and it’s unfortunate because it slams the (closet) door on any semblance of healthy discourse.
And so I sit alone at my table, feeling extremely vulnerable yet finding my voice and having every intention of using it on November 3rd.
I’m finding my voice.
Hey there, mamas! Don’t worry, we’re not going to debate politics today. At Grace in the Race, we welcome ALL mamas and we’re intentional about keeping our content focused on mom-life. However, we do have an election coming up in just ten days and so today’s editorial serves as a reminder to get out and use your voice to vote! Now back to the story…
Are there others out there like me — those who don’t have a firm stance on one side when it comes to politics. We tend to be the quiet ones stewing in the corner because nobody picked us in [political] gym class.
I recognize, however, that my stewing isn’t contributing to the greater good… I’m working through it. I mentioned that I’m finding my voice.
There is a great post on social media last week that said, “Speak your truth even if your voice shakes.” Dang, that’s so good! But also dang… that means getting out of my comfort zone.
It means choosing the skinny jeans (the ones with all the buttons) over the sweat pants; it feels unnatural!
And yet, sometimes we have to do the hard things and get out of our sweatpants.
Interesting, tell me more.
I suppose I dread political discussions because they are often rooted in defensive, close-minded, preconceived notions, and ulterior motives.
When was the last time someone made a political statement you disagreed with and you responded with, “interesting, tell me more” as opposed to “that’s crazy-talk, you’re bananas”? (Oh, come on, you were at least thinking it.)
I mean, what’s happened to the pregnant pause? The one where, upon LISTENING, we then THINK, we choose our words wisely and THEN we speak… or better yet, we ASK thoughtful questions to better UNDERSTAND.
We need to make space for this practice.
What if every voice had a seat at the table and we engaged in respectful, productive conversations, without judgment or assumptions? Are we capable of that or have we reached the point of no return?
I, for one, believe there is still hope.
Today the conversation is centered around politics but we can replace that with any given topic: racism, gender equity, working moms vs. stay-at-home moms, Coke vs. Pepsi… and there should always be room at the table.
It starts with an invitation.
Use your voice to welcome others and get in community with like-minded people.
But please note, that doesn’t mean you have to agree on everything. In fact, our differences make us stronger. The key is to have an open mind, the patience to listen, the will to understand, and the desire to better the greater good.
Imagine if our nation’s leaders took this approach.
(Our protagonist hangs her head and offers an exasperated sigh then lifts her chin to add…)
We’ve saved a seat for you in our circle; our community – our virtual neighborhood. Our hope is that we’re going to need a bigger table. Will you join us?
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