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Growing Up

Monday, November 14, 2016

Moving Forward

Setting aside my passionate alter ego, Politica, for a moment  . . . .

The first openly gay, female bishop in the United Methodist Church, Karen Oliveto, spoke at our 9:00 service yesterday. An inspiring gift of a speaker after a bitter and devastating election. (check out Bishop Oliveto's faith journey here.) 

The bishop reminded us that humans have a blind spot when it comes to seeing the pain of others. Either we're so distracted by our own travails and worries that we forget to look closely, or we're afraid that carrying the weight of another person's sorrows will sink us.

Bishop Oliveto received calls from people of color, women, children, and members of the LGBTQ community after the election. They were suffering. She reminded us to reach out to them, and to all of our neighbors, really seeing their pain and offering our help.

The bishop also reminded us to see the pain of people who voted for Donald Trump, people living in economic uncertainty, people who have been left behind by the digital society, rising costs of college, shuttering of manufacturing and mines.

So I am trying to see that pain, imagine what it feels like to live in the Rust Belt amid broken-down buildings, rows of unused factories with gaping windows. Or near a mining town which has shut down its main source of income.  Trump promised to bring manufacturing jobs  back, promised to revive fossil fuels, in part to galvanize this portion of the electorate that has been left behind.

In my passion for moving forward, for solar panels and Tesla waiting lists, I had forgotten about the people left behind.  I believe that Trump's promises are false, that it won't be possible to turn back time, but I want to see the pain of people who cannot find work or feed their families.

We need a coalition that saves the planet and the people who worked on fossil fuels, an environmental group that provides energy solutions and the choice of a way forward for people who have been uprooted. An economy that employs robots on assembly lines and in long-range trucks but also trains factory workers and truck drivers on new skills, or lets them go to college or information tech schools. We need to think bigger and include everyone.

Time for coffee and the paper now - Politica will return soon.

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