spin – part I

credit - science museum of MN

credit – science museum of MN

I admit it. I am one of those annoying folks who prefers to give others the benefit of the doubt. This way of life has served me (relatively) well over the decades. May have created some conflict from those who doubted my sincerity. May also have been a balm to others tired of the duplicity and derangement of present public discourse.

Which brings me to today. In place of last night’s sleep, seriously strange sensations surged through me. Something not unlike the spin cycle on high. I felt wrung out by morning, but neither refreshed nor sweet.

My first response to last night’s ‘presidential debate’ (yes, I need to use ‘ ‘) was to wish every candidate had some kind of truth-detector device attached to them. Clearly a bell would be of no use. They talk right through them. I began to wonder if a shock might be helpful. Something that would make them jump, create a visual for the listener to help distinguish between fact and fiction. I mean – how can they stand there and keep repeating utter falsehoods – about health care, about the economy, about Obama’s record, about the ease with which they would annihilate whole groups of people.

I get that memories are short, that their revisionist version of history is entirely spun from their own need to seem strong and smart. And electable – at all costs. I also get that the more forcefully something is stated, and the more frequently, the greater the ring of truth.

But here’s the rub. Saying something does not make it so. Instead of either finger-pointing or assuming an air of pious self-righteouness,  how about some simple fact-checking? Let’s start with this: just WHY has the current administration been unable to forge meaningful ‘across-the-aisle’ (how I hate that phrase) progress? Hint: it’s not because this President hasn’t tried – repeatedly, tirelessly – even, I might say, with his own belief in the ultimate goodness and humanity of his detractors. Who in their wringing away truth from all the spin, can only speak in ultimate polarities. Us – them; all good – all bad. That in itself should tell you something. It does me. (to be continued)

both . . . and

Fire & Ice

Fire & Ice (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

Robert Frost’s ‘Fire and Ice’ begins, “Some say the world will end in fire, some say in  ice.” I have been thinking about fire lately. A lot. About the paradox of flame, how quickly it can shift from nurture to destruction.

At the extreme fire becomes the negative of what, in moderation, is its best feature. Which makes me understand better, deeper, again the problem with either/or thinking. ‘If you’re not with me, you are against me’ is a simplistic formula for polarization, leaving no room whatever for the very real shades of gray in which we in fact live.

Just because I may not share your opinion does not mean I am going to take action against you. A great illness in our private attitude and public discourse has, in recent years, arisen from this toxic formula for intolerance. It implies enforced homogeneity, an unsettling dismissal of the very melting pot of difference that has kept us strong, innovative, tolerant.

fire and ice

fire and ice (Photo credit: Jasmic)

The conscious feminine offers a simple antidote by holding the paradox of the both/and. This energy – available to men and women alike – says, ‘there is room for your belief AND room for mine.’ Difference does not equal wrong or bad. Difference is not a square extreme trying to fit into an either/or hole. Difference is just difference. If we could hold mutual respect in our hearts for the fact of difference absent judgment and labels, how much more civil our discourse; how much richer our resources of understanding, compassion, creativity. How much fuller our lives lived from abundant goodwill rather than the scarcity of ‘other is wrong/bad.’