We must protect our capacity to see one another among the many.

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Prior to arrival at planned dance destination, the rare grooming of eyebrows is still intact.  My friend’s mirror, with body-pride Sharpie additions.
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Thrifted dress of recent manufacture, made in Canada.  The cut is very Summer-friendly , meaning that no brassiere is required which pretty much everywoman will readily equate with sweet comfort and relief.
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Vintage pin attached to built-in sash component , showcases Lansing pride.   I feel more comfortable in a city that’s still a bit gritty.
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Like my mother before me, I rate “fluffy hair” an ultimate aesthetic goal.
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The revealing cut requires simple jewelry and a no-makeup look to maintain the element of modesty that is necessary to elegance.
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Also, sensible heels and a gold clutch to further lady-fy. Ladify? Make more ladylike.

The other day in a gas station, I experienced an uncomfortably familiar deflation of hope and happiness upon reading the array of headlines at the newspaper stand.  As is often the current events case, the distressing sense of the surreal was second only to the distressing sense that this is all starting to meet expectations, as parcel to the existential bummer of now.

Then, on the facing wall, there was a bulletin board filled with homemade flyers and announcements of community events.  Picnics, concerts, reading groups, babysitting, fundraisers, garage sales, tutoring services, parades, farmers markets, and so forth.

A man happened to walk past a moment after I absorbed the juxtaposition, so I decided to mention out loud my realization:

“I think this (gesturing to bulletin board) is a more accurate representation of us as a people than what I just felt so bad about reading over there.”

He said “oh!  Huh.  Okay.”  And we had a friendly nod and resumed life.  Perhaps it is worth mentioning that he happened to be an adult white male who likely was comfortably affording boat payments and the like, and was probably utterly unexpectedly being addressed as part of a collective WE by a woman of color.

And perhaps therein resides the hope and the point of the critical difference between the headlines of division and the everyday experience of meeting the days amongst one another in the places we actually live.  That bulletin board speaks to the true value and potential of an America that still resides on this thin edge of peace and community and small events to look forward to and participate in.

What shall we be participants in?  Internet toxicity stoked by anonymity?  I hope and almost trust that the vast majority would prefer the world of everyday people represented on that bulletin board.  No categories or labels or threats or inequities: just an invitation to join in something positive, and appreciate the days in proximity.  Good will to all.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. thealvarezchronicles says:

    Today’s world is a tough sell on the soul. You look great in the dress. -Robert

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    1. Well said.

      And, it is indeed an effortless dress for the wearing, and I thank you for the compliment.

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  2. jonolan says:

    No, you’re the best indicator of the situation with “White Male” commentary. Fortunately, we, the People are no longer quite so tolerant of your kind’s constant harping and attacks.

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    1. The demographics seemed worth mentioning because of the hint of surprise I discerned in him upon being addressed by me in a manner that assumed our mutual inclusion as people in a community. The headlines in the paper highlight divisiveness, and thereby create that dangerously limited sense of what America is. Your comment itself seems to verify an assumed negative to any mention of the actual diversity of people found in daily interactions. What I wanted to point out was the reality of how small, daily interactions are capable of teaching us the value of fairly mundane co-existence. “We the People” is a phrase very close to my heart, because it presents us with an incredibly worthy ideal of an alliance that is not based on “kinds,” but rather strives for a more perfect Union, the goal of which (if we read the Preamble logically) is to “Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Such Blessings are linked to our Union, one example of which is perhaps the quiet, daily interactions among many people, United simply by a wish to enjoy a day or an event with family and friends. Certainly, you have never met me face to face, and so cannot know that far from being a “kind” who attacks or harps, I make it a point to seek eye contact and a goodwill nod to any person. The frequent reciprocation, no matter the demographic, supports my conviction that an attitude of kinship is crucial to the common good.

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      1. jonolan says:

        Of course the demographics seemed worth mentioning. Hence, my point in noting that your sort is the problem.

        Simply put, for most men – I’m not a woman and won’t try to say what or how they think – being spoken to in that manner at random, especially by woman (race doesn’t even matter), will cause a certain level of surprise.

        As for the small, local events and such – you’ll find them to based upon community, which is inherently a group of somehow related individuals in voluntary gregariousness. It’s also something that most of you “PoC” like to deride, though not as harshly as you “White,” Liberal enablers. (And no! I don’t care what “color” you are. I care about the content of your character)

        And then we come to “We the People.” I love it. I love the idea of it. However, it is predicated upon people being part of ‘THE PEOPLE,” not being exilic, antithetical to normative values, or otherwise “Other” in the values, culture, or ideology.

        But really! Think about it. I’m White. What would be your reaction to my explicitly calling out the race and gender of a Black woman or a Latina as if it was an important part of the sociopolitical point I was making?

        And finally – You “make it a point to seek eye contact and a goodwill nod to any person.” Good! I do the latter but, most often, not the former. I’m an older, quite tall, very scary looking “White Guy.” I’ve learned that, with my face and deportment, eye contact is normally considered either a threat or a challenge.

        — John Nolan (yep. handles just a concatenation)

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      2. I think the sticking point here is the assumption of negativity when a person’s heritage is mentioned. I would encourage everybody to consider their specific familial history as interesting and instructive to the character and potential of America. I do not find it explicitly troubling for you to mention a person’s heritage in the context of an articulated thought; if there is no deragatory rhetoric attached, I see no reason to assume any ill will. There is the option to view one another as “among,” rather than “other.”

        I do think it a considerable challenge to settle upon “normative values” that do not isolate or condemn some facet of the poplulation as unacceptable or unwanted. Again, we can perhaps turn to the Constitution and the Union intended to secure our Posterity. It seems intrinsically inclusive to base normative values upon a shared responsibility to all future generations. This is largely a matter of ecological sustainability. We the People are all equally reliant upon this living planet.

        And it is with the intention of sharing something interesting and perhaps hopeful with you (rather than separating us into sorts or kinds or types), when I say my Anishinaabek ancestors did not consider blood or birth as indicators of who was an Anishinaabek. Rather, it was a matter of living as an Anishinaabek with an attitude of humility and gratitude for our status as “younger brothers” to the plants and animals of the larger creation upon which we all depend. Indeed, my mother’s stepfather happened to be white by birth heritage (with that fascinating and instructive history of the Norwegian immigration story to northern Michigan), and he was effortlessly considered part of the indigenous community he married into by virtue of the simple fact that that is where he livedand loved and contributed to the continuity of the generations of language and fishing and ritual.

        My thoughts being, America can be that way, too. An adherence to the Union necessary to secure Blessings (quality of life that requires clean water and breathable air, freedom to live peaceably, etc) to Posterity. Humility can help us situate our minds to the greater good, and find value rather than suspicion in considering the different paths that lead us to the necessity of us all contributing to the renewed Union upon which our Posterity depends.

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  3. jonolan says:

    Well…firstly, Aniin – and that’s close to the limit of my Anishinaabe – Objibwe really, and probably not the “formal” spelling. Sorry, I speak a bit of about 30 languages and none of them close to fluid.

    And, apropos of nothing, my religion and yours – or is it just culture, or is there really even a real distinction? – completely coincide on the “Younger Brother” thing. I thank the plants and animals I harvest for my family’s table and do my limited best to “pay them back” for culling them. Honestly, with less “explicity,” most hunters feel and act that way…though not ALL. 😦

    But…what IS derogatory? Really! It seems to me that the reader / recipient gets to decide that…unless, like me, they’re White or worse, Men.

    As for normative – values are objective within a cultural / national context. If yours fall outside of that, deal with the consequences without any expectation of support or care, e.g., Blacks’ bastardy rates (67%+)

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  4. Aanii!

    Stacked decks precipitate a plethora of problems. Greed of the few deeming a rotating array of living beings as expendable. The decimation of family units through mass incarceration for nonviolent crimes (can we legalize marijuana yet?), the selling off and polluting of public lands and enclaves of wildlife, the grand profits for a big business that knowingly caused the opioid crisis that is right now killing as many people as the height of the AIDS crisis.

    These injustices also Unite us, and I do think we have the responsibility to care about and support our fellows who are prey to the insidious workings of shameless greed.

    I am very glad to hear that you give thanks when hunting. Perhaps you’ll find it interesting that tobacco is the traditional accompaniment to ritually and humbly expressing gratitude when harvesting plants or hunting animals. Laying it down, sometimes smoking. It’s an important recognition yes? The tenuous privilege of our survival on earth. Our only home. I usually do feel myself at ease around hunters; perhaps extended time spent in the outdoors imbues people with a bit of palpable realness.

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    1. jonolan says:

      Given that I was taught a lot by an Oglala Lakota while growing up, yep! Tobacco is an important part of such rituals…or maybe I just like finally having a smoke after getting that part of work done.

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