LISTEN UP! BOTH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS


My husband and I were as different as both and when he died we had been married a month short of sixty years. For about twenty years we gave marriage preparation talks about differences in spirituality, values, interests, focus, family influences, and problem solving techniques. One of the first things he always said was, “I don’t understand Eileen at all, but I accept her as she is.” But he also valued my mind and gradually I helped him outgrow his Southern prejudices. He helped me to understand the need to temper ideals with realism. In this life, we can only inch toward the perfect. And we learned to work together well enough to raise five both intelligent and kind kids who are totally different from each other and also from one or both of us. And they are all awesome.

If we do not accept our differences as gifts and learn to understand each other and use our differences for the good of all, America will not ever be GREAT or KIND, never-the-less both. We, BOTH SIDES, are destroying America because we will not let go of our need to win in order to struggle to learn to work together. And the first thing we have to learn is how to dialogue (express and listen) without demonizing each other.

Several decades ago, Julian and I were given the task by our Diocese of creating materials for a six weeks class on Capital Punishment. He was 100 % for capital punishment and I was 100 % against. As we both read through all the materials with statistics and stories of people being executed and later through DNA found to be innocent and the large majority of them being black, Julian began to change his mind.

At the same time a friend of mine’s sister was murdered and decapitated and buried without her head, which was never found. The white man accused of the murder (with plenty of evidence) had already served time for rape and torture once, been released, and attempted the rape/murder of another woman a second time, and again served time, but was paroled. He was obviously mentally defective. He had chains connected to the metal floor of the cabin of his truck. Some years before this, my son and his wife had been giving this man rides to work, not knowing his history. When my son changed jobs, his wife had driven the man to work alone. This issue was now up close and personal for me.

I decided our justice system was defective and I wanted people like this man to be kept on death row. And that DNA and all the groups protesting Capital Punishment would manage to deter the death sentence for innocent people. But the insane wouldn’t be allowed to rape, torture, and kill again.

Most issues just aren’t simple or clear cut. And there are no perfect people, so no perfect systems or solutions. We aren’t God and this isn’t heaven. But our best bet for improving things is recognizing that there are two legitimate sides to issues and to work together to come up with a still imperfect, but better way to handle them at least for our times.

About Eileen

Mother of five, grandmother of nine, great-grandmother of five. 1955 -1959 Rice University in Houston, TX. Taught primary grades; Was Associate Post Director of Religious Education at Ft. Campbell, KY; Consultant on the Myers/Briggs Type Indicator, Was married for 60 years to an Architect in Middle Tennessee.

Posted on November 11, 2020, in Always two imperfect, bit legitimate sides to every issue and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. It sounds as though you’ve come to a great approach to life and differences. I love that both of you have bounced off each other to change your views at times while recognising the value of both sides.

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