It’s hard to wade into the steam of people-speak anymore
without recoiling in pain, so many barbed words raking across soul so vicious
it’s a quick trip to make it out with tender parts alive.
Everybody talking at each other; no one listening.
Like a nightmarish cocktail party where everyone’s drinks have been tainted
so that no one can see another’s face.
Just pasting labels over breathing souls with a narrow slap of hand.
And all the while, shame working the floor like some crazed maestro,
conducting a symphony of suspicion,
painting a jury so harsh that we rush to condemn before the gavel comes down
on our own feelings of failure and flaw.
Where we could be a team, a community, a family, a tribe,
there spews a flood of blind judgment and false accusation.
But we don’t know, you and I, the being beneath the label
that we’ve just nailed into tender flesh.
We may have some facts, but we don’t know the sum.
And their story will never be told or heard or understood
in this poisonous room.
It just won’t.
And what you think you know, the heart of the matter, likely you don’t.
And the people you just criticized, do you think they crawled back through generations
and hand-picked the brokenness their wounded stuff springs from?
Do you think your belittling scorn is the medicine
that may punish them hard enough to kill the cancer?
Like a strong dose of chemo?
No, if you’re criticizing, you’re part of the sickness,
shooting up from the same root that started the whole damn thing.
It’s only fuel, your hate and blame and scorn,
when you slap a narrow label on a living, breathing thing.
Call it activism, politics, ministry, passion,
….whatever cheap aerosol spray you wanna mist around the filth of
words like “bigot”, “racist”, “monster”, “pervert”, “heathen,” “religitard,” “redneck,”
“sexist”, “ignorant,” “hater”…..whatever flavor you’re better than.
Because you think you know them, don’t you, that “conservative”
who must therefore be a narrow-minded, tight-fisted,
self absorbed, greedy, judgemental, arrogant, woman-hating, heartless, unseeing person of privilege.
Or that “liberal” who has got to be an irresponsible, lazy, immature, unmotivated,
short-sighted, hedonistic, free-loading, immoral, self-serving professional victim.
It’s got to be one or the other, right?
No. Sure, both parties are out of balance.
Because both are wings that we need in order to fly.
Torn apart, we’re all flopping helplessly in dirt.
(Yes, both have virtue; both have corruption….it’s part of the package)
So we suck it down, the tainted information the talking heads are selling,
an IV laced with fear,
and construct from all the pieces, like legos in a bin, a form
to label and love or loathe
Our own comfy version of the truth.
And who loses?
We all do.
The abused and the abuser, the hungry and the homeless, the marginalized and the rich,
the sick and the helpless, the lonely and the pimped.
We’ve built some good walls; supply can’t get through.
Except for where people of solution
are bypassing politics and creating change and finding effective ways
It’s happening. Quietly it’s happening.
No party has a corner on compassion.
But think what we could do if we all started building together
instead of against.
In honor of the fourth and all the freedom we enjoy
in in this land that I love,
my first and last political vent:)
I’d love to send a zine to someone…..will draw a name next weekend.
Leave a comment and I’ll toss in your name:)
“You may say I’m a dreamer.
But I’m not the only one.”
“We all need a little tenderness, how will love survive, in such a graceless age?”
– Don Henley