I went for a walk and ran into a priest taking a walk too, Father Joseph. We started to speak and before I knew it, we were in the depths of a deep and interesting conversation (the kind I love!).
It was not long before politics reared its ugly head. I say “ugly”, because that is the word that comes to mind when I think of politics nowadays-ugly.
Currently it feels like I hear the same rhetoric, just in a different form. Trump broke the law . . . so did Biden . . . and Hillary . . . and Obama. When did five (or 10 or 100) wrongs make a right? The answer is never, but ironically (not so ironic though), what position one takes depends on what side of the aisle they stand.
Back to Father Joseph.
Father Joseph did not tell me his political position. He is a Catholic priest born and raised in India. As you may imagine, he is peaceful and well thought. I, of course, expressed my unsolicited opinion. Not because I wanted to argue or stir a pot, but because I wanted to know if Father Joseph has a spiritual anecdote to the negative way I view politics these days. I believe this country is in the throes of the extreme left and the extreme right. To me, those on the extreme sides are the same person, with the same heart. They are not in a joyful or happy place. They are angry, disgruntled and always want to fight the fight. They spew disturbing, hurtful and damaging propaganda. For example, it's either "build a wall" or "have no borders." When will common sense prevail?
I told Father Joseph what bothers me most about the current administration is that many white supremacists now feel that they have a voice and a platform. Under the umbrella of “politically correctness," people seemed to have thought twice before labeling others with hateful terms, or putting others in undesirable categories, categories based on traits some were born with and cannot change, even if they wanted to.
Now, with a Commander in Chief who makes fun of people, calling them names based on their ethnicity or disability, many white supremacists think it is okay to voice an "ugly" opinion anywhere, to anyone. It feels like we are going backwards.
Father Joseph has a very interesting perspective that speaks directly to the point I raised about white supremacy. He told me that this country was built on slavery. Then he said that he did not like the word "slavery", and said that this country was built on people who had control over other people. Now, the people that were controlled have a voice, and are on the same level as the people who were controlling them. The people who were the controllers are now having a hard time relinquishing their control and viewing the people that they once thought of as beneath them as on their level.
At first, I was appalled thinking Father Joseph was justifying the fact that having a black president was too much for some Americans to take, and implying that the current president makes them feel understood. When I expressed my feeling of disappointment at what he was describing, he told me to view the outrage by the previous controllers as a bubble that will burst at some point. Too much air will get in, and it will pop. I wish I could say I understand why he feels this way; I don’t, but I am willing to open my mind and trust that it is a possibility.
Roles sometimes reverse; at first parents are the caretakers of their children, then one day the children are taking care of their parents. Or, roles equalize; men were once the king of their household and earned the income, while women took care of the household. Now, it is not unusual for women to earn money alongside the man, or instead of the man. According to Father Joseph, at some point the growing pains cease.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to contribute to the ongoing dialogue in a positive way. I wanted to raise questions that took some thinking and soul searching to answer. I stopped writing because I felt the need to justify and answer the questions I raised. I realize now that I cannot answer any of the questions I raise. Each one of us have our own individual reasons for the way we think, operate, and live our lives. We all have our own values. I know from personal experience how easy it is to remain stagnant in a certain belief. It takes thought and work to change who we are and to learn who we can be.
I am grateful to have met someone who has opened my mind, pushed me forward, and helped me view something in a different way.