FIGHT THE FEAR WITH KINDNESS

IMG_0671I’m starting to pull out of the worst hangover of my life. It didn’t come from alcohol. It came from my recent addiction to the news and the results of the 2016 Election. Since last Tuesday night, I stopped watching television. Yesterday, I finally forced myself to listen to NPR and to read the newspaper. But that’s it. I can’t listen to George, Anderson, Lester, or Scott say one more word. I feel betrayed, and I’m in deep mourning.

I know I have to pull myself out of this funk, but it’s difficult. The person who will soon be president of my country does not represent me. And I hate that feeling. Even when my candidates lost (or had the election stolen) in the past, I still felt respect for the highest elected office in my country. Why can’t I do it this time?

Because whenever I try to wrap my head around it, I hear the words–the hurtful, full of rocks and stones words–hurtled by the man who will soon occupy the Oval Office. I hear him referring to “the blacks,” “the Hispanics,” “the Muslims” without any recognition of why that is such divisive and fearful rhetoric. I implore others never to lump me in the category of “the whites” because that means you’ve just lumped me with Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson, and David Dukes. No, thank you very much. Do not judge me by the color of skin I share with such deplorables.

Those who supported the candidacy of the president-elect tell the rest of us to get over it. I’ve heard them say they didn’t do this when Barrack Obama was elected in 2008 and 2012. No? First, did President Obama ever threaten to deport them? Did he ever call them rapists and murderers? Did he ever implore them to turn in their neighbors or risk punishment themselves? Did he ever threaten to take away their rights? Did he ever threaten to take away their health insurance? Did he ever suggest he would date his daughter? And did he ever indicate that sexually aggressive behavior was the privilege of the famous?

I argue they did protest by blocking the President’s attempts to appoint a Supreme Court justice and to strengthen our gun laws, just to mention a few ways the other side protested.

Fear rules now that a man who has declared that sexual harassment in the workplace can be avoided by a woman simply leaving a job where she feels it’s occurring, who wants to abolish health care for millions who can’t afford it otherwise or who have preexisting conditions (although he may be softening on that), and who has a vice-president eager to do away the any rights gained for our LGBT community. Fear reigns in the lives of anyone who is an immigrant.

Yesterday, I saw it displayed at the post office. A young woman from China was behind me in line. She spoke broken English when she asked me some questions about mailing her package. Before I was called to the window for my business, I tried my best to advise her. She went to the clerk right next to me. He didn’t understand her English and was becoming annoyed with her. She turned to me, and what I saw in her eyes devastated me. She was afraid. Fear poured out of her, and she looked to me to help her. I told the clerk I’d take care of it, and he immediately called the next person in line, eager to be rid of the problem. I pulled her over to a counter and went through what she wanted to do and told her what to say to the clerk when she spoke to him again. She smiled and thanked me profusely as she touched my shoulder.

I walked away feeling better. I’ve been listening to those who say we must go on living our lives with more kindness to counterbalance the hatred running rampant in this country right now. It worked for me because for the rest of the day, I felt as if the hangover that had been hanging over my head for a week, lifted.

I’ve blocked and unfriended several folks on Facebook this past week. When a twenty-something relative who only works sporadically and then sponges off other relatives and the government while she finds herself told those of us who didn’t like the election results to leave the country, I blocked her posts from my newsfeed. When a friend from high school posted that anyone who voted for Hillary was insane, I unfriended him. And when another relative posted about her grief and was attacked by another relative for that grief, I cried.

We have the results. This is the reality. If we’re happy about last Tuesday’s election or if we’re struggling with accepting the results, let’s all vow to be kinder. Let’s fight the fear and hatred with love and compassion for all people. It’s going to be difficult some days. Fighting the bullies who have been given permission to act like bullies in public will take stamina, especially when the president-elect doesn’t recognize that he threw this coming-out party for jerks. Hope is difficult to keep when I hear him asked if he thinks his rhetoric went too far in the election process, and he answers, “No because I won.”

But I’m working on it, one day at a time, one act at a time, one person at a time.

Secretary Clinton and President Obama have set our bars very high for graciousness in a time of despair for many of us. Let’s reach their bars and go beyond.

And then pray.

Florida Setting 2

 

 

Communication is an Endangered Species

Key deer - just one of many endangered species

Key deer – just one of many endangered species

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

Last night, we watched the movie Terms of Endearment. The movie still provides some sentimental waterfalls, but there are some things that seemed so modern in 1983 when the movie was made that are nearly archaic now thirty years later. Phones were push button but still in the old rotary style with the coiled cord and receiver. The movie shows a scene where a large rectangular portable phone presents itself poolside. How “modern” this cordless box appeared that even the character played by Debra Winger pulls it away from her ear to give it a smirk.

How far we’ve come in these thirty years – for better and for worse. The four of us watching the film began talking about the advent of the cell phone into our lives and how it changed communication skills once that tiny little piece of technology made its way into mainstream life. My friend recounted his experience working in a restaurant where communication among employees was open and made for the smooth running of the establishment for his first four or five years in his job as cook. But then slowly over the course of a year, cell phones began appearing in the hands of the waiters, cooks, dishwashers, and managers. Instead of talking with one another, communication occurred over the plastic encased wires, making face-to-face talking less and less. Efficiency  among the staff deteriorated as did the quality of service.

It’s even worse today with the introduction of texting into our lives. I’ll admit it’s convenient to text someone a quick note, but now instead of living lives, paying attention while shopping, walking, or driving, folks text their messages to their phone. We’re going to lose our ability to appreciate our surroundings. I understand the allure. I finally came into the modern world this month when I was upgraded to an iphone with my cell phone company. It’s addicting to follow my career and personal life on this little square screen that fits in my pocket and alerts me whenever Carmelitta Carson tweets or Joseph Jackson posts his status on Facebook or when Monster Mart sends me an email letting me know that kitchen sinks are now on sale. Meanwhile, my husband is telling me – in person – about his schedule for the next week. I didn’t hear him with all the other distractions occurring worlds away from my present. I put the phone away and turned off the beeps and buzzes informing me of nonsense nonessential to living my life.

Last week I wrote a post (Becoming a Non-Person) about becoming a non-person in a wheelchair. I mentioned my friend whose brother faces the challenges of multiple sclerosis that has left him bed- and wheel-chair bound. This past weekend his nurse, who comes every morning to shower and care for him while my friend goes to work, was fired. This nurse was a God-send because she treated my friend’s brother as a worthwhile human being bringing him smiles and laughter. My friend was devastated and waited an entire day before telling her brother. When she finally told him yesterday, he calmly took the news and asked for the phone. He called the boss of the agency that fired the nurse, and he became his old self – confident and strong – and within thirty minutes brought the boss to tears as he convinced her the nurse should be rehired because they were fortunate to have her, and whatever issues occurred to cause her firing should be addressed and used as a way to help this valuable employee and human being.

My friend wrote me this morning to tell me the nurse was rehired, and she could hear her brother and the nurse conversing in the next room.

Those of us on our fancy new forms of communications are the ones in danger of becoming non-persons, not the wonder in the wheelchair who still knows the importance of communicating with confidence, clarity, and compassion. Let’s not make him an endangered species.

Pardon my blog

By P.C. Zick@PCZick

I’m learning daily on how to best post my blog, but something I did today with the settings caused my posts to post twice to Facebook and Twitter.

Overexposure is not the greatest thing if you want to be taken seriously in this writing business. At least it turns me off as a consumer, reader, citizen, person.

So in an effort to correct the overexposure I might have received on my Rachel Carson piece this morning, I’m doing this short little ditty to see if I corrected the problem.

However, learning about Rachel Carson and remembering her work over and over again is not necessarily a bad thing.