Friday, October 3, 2008

At the Proverbial Water Cooler (longish)

So, today is the first day that is post-VP debate. No big news there.

Early in my day, I was with a group of women I have known for years, with whom I have much in common---kids, our professions, we're all local people, etc.

And of course, the debate comes up (I think, because I was stoopid enough to bring it up--lol). No, really it was because I made some comment about a People magazine that was laying around. The cover has Sarah Palin and her family on the front. And no, the magazine isn't mine.

Anyhoo, as I peruse the pages, I excitedly say something along the lines of, "Yeah. Did you guys watch the debate last night? Didn't Sarah do a good job?".

And before the magazine I had gently tossed had hit the surface of the table, I knew...these people that I have worked with and for and beside and commiserated with on countless topics, from personal to professional, are not, oh how shall we say....'in my camp', politically speaking.

And as always (or at least every 4 years), I am struck with that smacked-up -side-the-head-with-a-2x4-feeling of stunned confusion, when I remember (or re-remember) that ::gasp::horror:: not everyone shares my views of the world. (readers will please pause, to let the full weight of my ridiculousness set in before continuing).

Of course, I know this on an intellectual level. As in, if I was asked the question, "Do you think everyone in America shares your particular political views?", I would be quite capable of responding correctly and intelligently, "No, of course not".

But, I have this *thing* that happens to me, where, when I spend lots of pleasant times, side by side, living, working and breathing the same air as people, I come to care for them. And a shared history is built, little by little of inside jokes and memories and then, bam! I assume, that since we are all so chummy and kind with one another, that they and I are the same.

And in many ways, we are. We are all moms, which is perhaps the most universally powerful uniter there could ever be. All it takes is for me to see *one* photo of a woman and her child suffering in a third world country (or in my community) and I can relate. War, famine, poverty, illness, loss, rape, oppression, struggle---the face of a woman and her children under *any* of these circumstances immediately makes me her sister.

We are all in what I call the 'caring' proferssions...therapists, educators, licensed, trained, schooled and skilled in caring for children, the elderly, the sick, the weak, the least, the last and the lost. I love and respect every one of these women.

We all have chosen (as bizarre as that may sound) to live in Iowa and *not even* in Des Moines (which, if you are not from Iowa, is probably the only Iowa town you've ever heard of and to us, is the BIG city), but in towns much smaller and more rural than our capital city. We live in towns where it is a big deal to go to Applebee's, because not all cities in Iowa have an Applebee's. lol Where people leave keys in the car and doors unlocked (not *me*, but people I know). Where there is no professional sports in the whole state! and the big deal in every town is the local high school's teams. We are pretty connected, because there just ain't that many of us.

So, yeah. This morning. I'm cruising and chummy with these women and it's been 3 years, 11 months since the last time this same revelation thumped my melon and wham! I'm whacked again.

So, I am trying to process this. And I guess the thing that I find so puzzling about politics is this...if we all can get along with one another for 3 years and 11 months of every 4 years, happily living out the big and the small events in our lives, celebrating accomplishments and comforting and supporting one another through the hard times, what is it about politics that can so fracture and divide a roomful of people with one comment, "Hey, didn't Sarah Palin do well last night?"

In the quiet of the stunned silence (and think everyone in the room felt the awkwardness) of that moment, I think we all felt 'exposed'. The things that we don't talk bout much (although I suspect we all know this about one another, if we were to stop and think about it) is the thing that defines us at out core; more deeply defining than motherhood, caring professions and state citizenship, is 'worldview'.

I'm conservative Christian and most (OK *all*) of them are not. And although we all get along easily and well, living and working side by side and breathing the same air, never thinking that we are divided, we are. And it is sad to realize that although we are the same in so many ways, if we differ in 'worldview', we are widely separated in the way we um....view the world.

And the problems in the world. And *why* there are problems in the world. And what exactly *are* the problems in the world. And what we should do to fix the problems.

Although, I consider that America is the best example of Christian principles in government (not that we are living the principles, but I believe they form the basis of our government, legislative and judicial arenas), and I place my hand over my heart and pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America, my ultimate allegiance is to Jesus.

Yep. There. I said it.
(to be continued...the high school football game is calling).

1 comment:

mrsbroccoliguy said...

That's so funny, I've had that same thing happen to me! And I really should know better, surrounded by non-conservatives in my family and circle of friends as I am!
But I also like your point - we all get along so well 3 years and 11 months... it would be nice to think we can get along this last month, even as we disagree about our worldviews. (and perhaps, maybe even listen to one another and learn a thing or two? Hey, a conservative girl can hold out hope for her friends and family, can't she? :) )