A look back on a volatile year
It has been quite a year, unlike any I’ve ever experienced. I can safely call it Year of the Woman but also Year of Disillusionment and Division and Year of I’m Right and You’re Wrong.
Women across the nation, and world, kicked things off strong in January with the Women’s March. While it united women trumpeting a variety of issues and stances, even those who stayed out of the fracas seemed to embrace their sense of purpose and strength.
To that, I say it’s about time. We should be vocal, involved members of our society. We should trample our fears and stand up for what we believe in, especially when it’s ourselves. We have allowed silence, guilt, fear and shame to ride along as co-conspirators far too long.
My husband has contended for decades that women hold all the power, they just don’t realize it. Maybe they are beginning to understand that now. It’s almost as if they were pushed over the edge by one too many insults and injustices, as if the levee broke. Many seem “woke” and downright angry. The term feminism has rejoined modern vocabulary. And women are mobilizing every single day, taking actions and speaking out with a diligence and fury that’s impressive. On the downside, some will take advantage and misuse their voice, but far more will be inspired and encouraged, making a profound difference in their lives.
It was also a scary and challenging year. The presidential race and subsequent political climate created volatile emotions amongst many. Post election, black friends of mine reported overt racial slurs slung their way for the first time ever or at least in decades. People of various sexual orientations and classifications said they felt unsafe. Women were angry that a misogynist was in the office of president and others were so concerned with the future of our country, they debated leaving it or fell into deep depression. People who were relieved by the outcome of the election were surprised and irritated by the vitriol they received. In short, it’s been messy, loud, scary and unharmonious. I’ve never seen the country so divided.
This, of course, led to the Year of I’m Right and You’re Wrong. And it was visible everywhere from the editorial pages of newspapers to Internet venues to the venomous playground of social media. Any given day offers moments of debate (or just insults) and an inside snapshot of the way people really think. All it takes is a hotbed topic like a current political action, athletes kneeling during the national anthem, removing confederate related monuments or gun violence to get the kettles boiling, fingers pointing and ugliness spewed.
What I’ve noticed is often a lack of deliberate independent thought, careful consideration, researching of facts and a reluctance to truly want to understand a different point of view. I find it regrettable.
Our ability to respond rapidly with words via the Internet and social media and even personal texts allow people to make comments I doubt they would otherwise, certainly not if positioned face to face with one another.
I also worry we are not unbiased impartial thinkers as I hear an avalanche of the same arguments, phrases and rhetoric on both sides of any debate. It sounds so similar I wonder if in the dead of night, we were reprogrammed as robots like something out of a sci-fi novel.
And while I understand the urge to “resist,” a movement still thriving, I am all too familiar with the phrase, “That which you resist persists.” The concept was brought to light by psychologist Carl Jung who contended it wouldn’t just persist but grow. There’s been so much resistance this past year, I wonder if it’s provoked the opposite desired effect.
All this divisiveness is disheartening. I felt like we were making strides against racism, separatism and elitism, but now I’m not so sure. Perhaps things have to get this ugly and fuel an Armageddon-like atmosphere for us to rise like a Phoenix from the charred debris.
For the advancements achieved by individuals, I applaud you. For those who’ve endured the worst of humanity, I’m standing by your side. And for all, I encourage you to remember you only know one portion of any story other than your own (and even that can be suspect). Divisiveness and an absence of independent thought are not in your best interest. Keep your own house in order and your mind open. Try to love your fellow man, even when the thought repulses you. And remember to be the light. It’s illuminating.
This column appeared in The Journal on Sunday, December 10, 2017.
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A collection of columns, articles and general a-musings.