Saturday, April 1, 2017

Hopeful Thinking - Saturday, April 1, 2017 - We Shall Overcome

           We are in a divisive time right now. This country feels as if it’s being torn apart. But we designed the seams of our government like a pair of Levi’s. Double stitched. Extra rivets. Yes, jeans wear out, so the metaphor isn’t perfect. But when jeans are sewn together they are meant to survive hard use. We have been refining our government systems for quite some time. And we can tell there is more ahead of us than behind us. Google Sisyphus. But what is behind is is all we need.
We see the holes in our system and feel empowered to do something about it because we have been systematically training ourselves for hundreds of years to do so. It takes time before the grown elephant realizes he’s being held with nothing more than mere rope. Imagine the huge worldview shift that takes place as people begin to awaken to inherent freedom? What must it have been like in France as the Revolution was occurring? What must it have felt like in Britain to watch it happening on their doorstep? Change is like the Hindu goddess Kali. Google Kali.
If our founding men and women of this country were given the opportunity to answer the questions: How long will it be before women vote? Before blacks will be free? Before health care is a priority? Before we truly democratize the world? what would their answers have been? What were they imagining for a timeline? Did they envision the day of Emancipation? Did they consciously think, ‘someday they’ll free the slaves’ and design the documents to allow for that future to occur in its own time? Were they that cognizant of how we would turn to those documents again and again to help us know how to move forward with grace and decency? They might have guessed that we would at times proceed with such little of either.
It had to be that they knew their document was scalable. It had to be that on some level, some deeply personal, quiet central spark within them knew and understood the moment that was before them. They cannot have consciously known it all or the true enormity of their generations-long impact would overwhelm them. They cannot have envisioned a national discussion on transgender bathroom rights. And yet their documents scale to even that debate with an answer as plain as the ink itself. If we are courageous enough to follow it.
The rock that we have been given to push up this hill is enormous. No single person can do it. Our division began as soon as the ink was dry because now there was something upon which to debate. But we will survive it. And we will be stronger for it. We will one day know what it feels like to be a people united.
We are doing so much better than we realize. The arc of history is still bending in our favor. We shall overcome. It’s in our jeans.

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