This election: The voice of human suffering

Crying, by Machiel van Zanten, via Flickr.com under Creative Commons 2.0 License Crying, by Machiel van Zanten, via Flickr.com under Creative Commons 2.0 License

This election is the voice of human suffering. The anger on one side is a byproduct of a large group of people who feel unheard, unnoticed and uncared-about. People who suffer and feel alienated, angry and helpless.

The righteous indignation on the other side is born of fear. And now those who have lost have deep grief and great fear for the future.

And what both sides have in common is fear of losing what is most precious to them. It doesn’t matter what the specifics are, whether it’s Second Amendment, Roe v. Wade, the environment, jobs or even our worldview, all of us want to hold on to what we have that help us feel secure and safe.

Suffering indeed.

This is not a time for aggression towards the other side. For those who have lost, it’s a time for mourning with kindred spirits. For those who have won, it’s a time to hopefully feel heard, respected and hopeful about the future.

For the last two years and perhaps a decade before that, we have vilified the other. We have refused to look at “other” and see their humanity. To see a person who might be afraid or alienated. A person who has been living with a sense of injustice. Or a person who feels at risk. A person who aches for security, compassion and well-being.

Many years ago, when I was a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, one of my most popular columns was when I said there were four words that could cut down on divorce, conflict on the community and perhaps even nationally. And those words? Look someone in the eye and say “Tell me your story”. And then listen as though that was your story.

We all have stories that we use to define our lives. And all those stories involve suffering, resilience, a longing for security and love.

I don’t care who you voted for or why. I just care that you see my humanity and that you give me the opportunity to see yours.

But first we cry.

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