Saturday, 3 October 2015

Squawking Again

After my 100th post, my inner crow heaved a sigh of relief, tucked her head under her wing, and took a long, well-deserved rest.

In the meantime, the resident sweetie and I had a grand adventure in Europe. We live in an amazing world; our feet took us through busy streets, ancient buildings, valleys where Cro-Magnon man walked thousands of years ago, awesome cathedrals, marketplaces, and along quiet rivers.

the beginnings of a small piece of wall art, showing my impression of a town in the south of France.
We heard street musicians, church bells, bird song, and the excited chatter of children. We saw sunsets over country villages, green fields, and ocean waves. The impressions we had will take a while to sort through, but each has left an indelible mark on our souls. And we loved it all.

See how relaxed and happy we appear to be? (That's Mont St. Michel in the background.)
But back at the ranch, things were happening in Canada. An election had been called, and every time I checked my e-mail and Facebook, political posts were popping up, sent by well-meaning friends and family. I’d like to say my inner crow – the part of me that observes and  creatively responds to the world around me – was able to ignore this, but I began to sense a restlessness within. Soon the crow was fully awake and banging on the bars of the cage I’d put her in. “Let me out and let me talk about this,” she squawked. By the time I got home, Old Crow was in full cry.

I’m not a political person, and conflict makes me want to leave the room. I’d rather let the world go by – maybe tuck my head in, hunker down, and wait for the commotion to pass. But I’ve also learned that to ignore these inner promptings is not healthy. I may be able to keep them contained for a while, but you don’t want to be around when the top blows off. Not pretty. Feathers everywhere. The crow reminded me that I had dealt with this issue several times in my blogs. Now it was time to ante up, to walk the talk.

"Squawk On!" a piece I created to remind myself that it's important to speak up when you feel something is wrong.
So I’m going to let the crow squawk – not about who to vote for, and not to point out the strengths and failings of the various political parties and their leaders – that’s already being done ad infinitum. Instead, I’d like to suggest a moratorium on partisan rhetoric, all those words that are aimed at telling others why this politician is the greatest, or why that one is a clone of the devil.

In the introduction to his book Healing the Heart of Democracy, Parker Palmer explains why all this rhetoric is so divisive. We each have in our hearts and minds, he says, an image of what our country should be in order for us to feel good. But of course, reality never lives up to this image – horrible things happen, people lie, the budget goes in the hole, promises are not kept –  and we get angry because our needs aren’t being met. We look for someone to blame, and it’s always the other guy – the one who has a different image of what our country should be. Hence the angry diatribes and alarmist propaganda on the web and on social media. Does this get us what we need? No. It only makes us fearful, anxious, and under attack. I know this because I’ve been there, done that, engaged in the p***ing contests that nobody wins. I don’t want to do that anymore.

Palmer says, “Understand that it’s more important to be in right relationship than it is to be right. This does not mean compromising your convictions for the sake of “niceness.” It means holding your differences with others in a way that can sustain dialogue over time, giving everyone a chance to speak, listen, and learn. The issues that divide us are complex; if we don’t hang in with each other long enough to sort them out we will never get anywhere near the best solutions.” http ://   We have resources and gifts that the world badly needs, but we can’t offer them if our fists are clenched and we’re busy yelling at each other.

So I turned off all political feeds that landed on Facebook. No more political ads from any party, for political ads only tell you half the story. I attended a non-partisan workshop that showed me how the system works, and how the media portrays issues. It gave me lots of food for thought, and also gave me hope. I’ve been trolling the internet to find practical and encouraging information on civic actions every citizen can practice that will make a difference. I’ve started asking myself questions: what do I value? What am I willing to sacrifice for the good of more people? When I vote – and for sure I will –  I want my vote to align with my beliefs, as much as I am able. 

And I’ve taught my inner crow some manners; there are things she may believe, but in the interests of meaningful dialogue, it’s not wise to say them.  “Okay, okay, I get it,” she said irritably. “But I still think there’s more to say.” (She’s a feisty old bird, and it’s hard to shut her up.)

So I’ve decided to let her out every day till October 18 to ask one question, or quote someone wise, or give you a giggle at our human foibles, or suggest some research to check out and chew on. It’ll appear on your Facebook page, or in your e-mail box. “Alright, alright, much better,” says the old crow within, brightening up considerably.

Every time we vote, we have the privilege of saying what kind of country we want to live in. To do that, we need to be sure of our values, and consider our options away from propaganda and partisanship, which often breed fear and encourage anger. I hope you’ll check out the crow’s squawkings , and hopefully some of the snippets will give you food for thought and will help you define what’s important to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment