Sunday, January 29, 2017

sunday grace: this border is not hospitable to hatred

souvenir shop, nyc, c.2013

yesterday was a dark day (in a months-long parade of dark days) in my country.  that man, person, whatever he is who occupies the white house signed an order effectively starting a border ban based on race, ethnicity and religion.

yesterday i initiated my own border ban.  unlike his, my decision was thoughtful and purposeful and specific, intended to nurture values, rather than destroy them, while maintaining a commitment to the greater good. it was a personal boundary to keep out the hatred in certain circumstances. for months i have felt a strong desire to protect my personal spaces from the vile racism and hatred spewing forth from those who support the direction our country is heading.  my home is already a sanctuary, an environment of serenity, empathy, joy, learning, intelligent discourse and compassionate (sometimes uncomfortable) debate.  yesterday i felt a strong need to extend the border of protection to my social media space.

being inclusive and navigating diversity of thought are values i hold dear, so decisions to establish boundaries need to be based in (real, lived, truth-based) evidence and purpose, not just feeling.  i did a good deal of soul-searching and values clarification before i landed on a decision to secure my border.  i admit that i am struggling with some "all _____ are _____"  beliefs that got our nation here in the first place.  unlike others, i recognize that in myself and it disturbs me.  in order to change and prevent these biases from going further, i must set some boundaries.
  • my facebook, twitter, instagram are not my citizenship or my work, they are personal spaces.  
  • the energy it takes to internally manage others' entrenched beliefs and hatred distracts me from the work necessary to fix this shit, to stand with others for social justice and stand against racism, bigotry, human rights violations and so many other areas of hatred that are commonplace right now. 
  • i do not believe that peace, love, understanding, and prayer will solve these problems.  they have important places for many of us, but this is a fight against violence.  violence doesn't give a flying fuck about those things.
  • i do not hold the delusion that the example of my life or some kind of magical words will shift another's heart or worldview if they haven't already, especially if others are firmly grounded in fear and hatred.  
  • personal boundaries are required in life.  sometimes they hurt people's feelings.  they absolutely hurt people's feelings when they are loosely and arbitrarily established on the down-low, when one is afraid to state a boundary clearly and unequivocally.  
  • i fully understand that this level of boundary-setting, this seeking balance between the work and the rest, this component of self-care is a privilege.  and i will leverage that privilege in order to focus on getting the work done in my public spaces.
i will continue to engage in meaningful discourse with others who hold views different from my own in those face-to-face spaces where we can see each other and can begin to explore our vast and varied views on what it means to have a human heart.  this engagement is necessary for good citizenship.

and mostly, i continue my work helping others gain access to safe quiet spaces where they can rest their minds and souls from the work of being human in this world.