My mom loved that song. She struggled her whole life to “make the world go away.” She was thoughtful, deep, caring, and mixed up. She wanted to stop the voices in her head because they wouldn’t allow her to find peace.
Make the world go away. Take it off of my shoulders.
I didn’t really understand then, but that song has been rolling around in my head lately. Make the world go away – the virus, the woke-ness, the politics, the anger that’s boiling up at those who don’t take this precious life seriously.
Should I continue to think things can change, or should I simply roll up in my beautiful, warm cocoon of beach life, and just chill?
That’s where I am right now. Unsettled, uncertain. Wanting to make a difference but feeling the tension of everything mounting. It should be easy to unplug but it isn’t.
Back in February 2017, I started a Facebook page called “Common Ground” and took the risk of inviting people with wildly different perspectives on “the world.” Back then, I was trying my darndest to support the office of the President of the United States but losing ground daily. The page is still there but I lost interest when it appeared that it was becoming a place to post articles to refute the last article that was posted – a game of one-ups-man-ship.
It is 2020 – the year the world turned upside down
Comments today are more vitriolic, angrier, and more positioned than they were in 2017 when I first started looking for common ground. But I still believe in my heart that there really is common ground.
So I joined the first international dialogue on racism at Salon360, a revolutionary concept dear to my heart – dialogue aimed at finding common ground. The first virtual meeting was, to be expected, a feeling-out period. Many of us were recently “woke” so we were eager to share our insights. It was polite. Perhaps too polite but it was the first time. It was cathartic to be able to talk about what had been rolling around in my head.
Commentary after the session was lively. How do we get more people of color? How do we dig deeper?
Then came this post. There goes Kumbaya. And don’t get me wrong, I think the post was eloquent and metaphorically showed just how complicated this topic really is.
There is no easy answer
Mark’s post “It’s About Reconciliation” (below) is profound in that it offers disparate views within one post, finishing with videos of black people denouncing Black Lives Matter.
A few months ago, I took a stand publicly on BizCatalyst360 to support Black Lives Matter. One of the comments on my post blew me away by calling Black Lives Matter a terrorist group. I was shocked, hurt, and slightly embarrassed.
Did I just publicly support a terrorist group? What will people think of me?
Perhaps I should delete the post. My mind was thinking, “Oh, I hope Dennis doesn’t put this out there too far on LinkedIn as maybe some of my family or close friends will see it and judge me.” The next day I decided to simply say, “Thanks for your comment,” to the poster.
Now Mark’s post says the same thing. Black Lives Matter is a “group” – I thought it was a philosophy that I was supporting.
We’re entering a new world
I feel quite schizophrenic right now. I want to run and hide in my safe, beach cocoon – just live my life. Yet, I can’t make the world go away. There is still a little piece of me that believes that we can make the world a better place and I want to be part of that.
But as we enter this new world of open and candid dialogue, I think it will be important to remember that each of us comes by our beliefs honestly and by challenging those beliefs, we may want to provoke thought but we may provoke a little pain along the way.
I think I have a pretty thick skin, but I know others who don’t. I also know others who are comfortable where they are and have no intention to change.
Perhaps a good way to begin is to ask questions rather than state opinions. The phrase, “Help me understand where you are coming from,” is a powerful indicator that you’re not there to judge, but to understand.
Being judged is hurtful. I don’t think that will get us where we need to be.
“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re politically woke, and all that stuff — you should get over that quickly. The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws.”
We are in this world – it is all we have. Let’s rejoice in it, rather than dread it. I know there is common ground – we just need to seek it out carefully.