When the election began, I made the joke on Facebook that Trump's campaign reminded me of Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Talents. In the novel, a charismatic politician runs a campaign playing on the hate and fear in the country, allowing groups of fanatics to attack communities in his name. The communities targeted are those who do not match the religious, racial, or economic ideals of stereotypical America. I didn't imagine that the Facebook comment would come so close to coming true.
However, this summary skips an important part of the novel. The kidnapped daughter of the main character, Asha Vere, a character displaced and looking for home and acceptance finds it in a combination of community, family, and church. Granted, I am grossly oversimplifying the novel, but I can't help but read this as a much needed message for the moment. We need to move past blame and anger and move towards discussion and community. It won't be an easy move, there are grievances from all sides, but with recognition that we share something as human beings we can begin to move forward.
I know I have been guilty of rashly making judgments during this election season. Some of those judgments came from fear, some passion. I needed my thoughts to be heard and respected and was terrified that my voice would be stamped out. I did others a disservice though, by not recognizing this same fear and passion in other across party lines though. Understand that this does not mean letting hate speech or action run rampant, but recognizing where views different than our own come from.
Over the next four years, there are sure to be many changes, but I don't intend to sit back silently or stew about it online. This is a time of action, of mobilization, and outreach. I am going to work with Channel Initiative to see global changes achieved. I am going to work with local nonprofits to see local changes achieved, but most importantly I am going to talk to my neighbors, friends, family, and community through it all. I want to hear their thoughts and ideas and share my own. Silence helps no one. So, I recommend we all start talking. Let's start small, grab a coffee, share a book or movie recommendation. But, most importantly, just keep talking. I'm starting today. Hi, fellow Americans, how have you been? You should really read Parable of the Talents. I think you'd like it. Let’s grab a drink and talk.