Are you finding glimmers of hope for our nation yet? I know it’s only been 19 days since this historic and, some may say, horrific election and season. I guess it all depends on where you are looking and what camp you are in.
For some they may still be cycling through the same media sources that continue to repeat their unending angst and position, while others continue to gloat over whatever floats their boat and “sticks it” to the so-called enemy! Anyone out there want to finally not be so exhausted from the harangue hanging on every media one-liner? Well, I have some thoughts and ideas here. May they sound like some possibilities for you.
Yes, I revisited my Facebook page the other day actually looking for a glimmer without much success. It seems, particularly with one friend who is a staff member for one of our Texas Congressmen, there was only one or two who could find a way to have a civil, respectful conversation thread about something Speaker Ryan did or didn’t do in the past that broke all trust for the future for those entering the conversation. I felt really sorry for the “friend” who tried so hard to offer some facts and genuine, open questions.
So, I put aside Facebook for another day when all media exploded with opinion pieces about Vice President-elect Mike Pence attending the Broadway musical “Hamilton” at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York on December 18. I will attempt to summarize what I glean from the barrage being inflicted on us all. I actually have come away with a glimmer of hope for us. First, we all know what Trump tweeted regarding the demand for an apology and that a concert should be a safe place to attend and not be put on the spot. I know I wouldn’t want to be.
Yet, let’s put this in perspective with the current climate in our nation and the fact that Pence is our VP-elect. No matter where Pence will go, the media will follow. Where is the positive is all this? First, from what I read I felt the cast was respectful even if the audience wasn’t. Second, as Pence was leaving, he stopped to listen. Thirdly, although Trump (ideally as with us all) is allowed freedom of opinion (just look at your own Facebook or Tweeter page), Pence’s response created a win/win for all.
Pence genuinely listened, was respectful, and waited for an appropriate time and means later to respond to both Trump’s opinion and his own. According to Eric Bradner, CNN Politics (November 20, 2016), Pence responded “My daughter and I and her cousins really enjoyed the show. ‘Hamilton’ is just an incredible production, incredibly talented people. It was a real joy to be there.” In addition, he added “When we arrived we heard a few boos, and we heard some cheers, . . . I nudged my kids and reminded them that is what freedom sounds like.”
He then said on Fox News Sunday, “I did hear what was said from the stage. I can tell you I wasn’t offended by what was said. I will leave to others whether that was the appropriate venue to say it . . . .” What was the message from the cast? Basically, quoted according to CNN Politics, “Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at “Hamilton American Musical,” we really do. We, sir — we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights . . . We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us . . .”
From Fox News Sunday, Pence also said he wants to address the center of the message given by the cast and knows “. . . this is a very disappointing time for people that did not see their candidate win in this national election, . . . I know this is a very anxious time for some people. I just want to reassure people what President-elect Donald Trump said on election night — he absolutely meant from the bottom of his heart . . . .”
I believe we have just witnessed an open, respectful conversation, albeit not at the same moment or location (which probably wouldn’t have been an appropriate venue at either the time or location). We witnessed a beginning at the top level of our nation. How about us in both camps start giving it a try too? Yes, it is a guarantee we will disagree on any number of things, with hopeful respect. We are all very passionate about what and who we believe is right for our nation. Yet, we can surely find areas where we can agree and have common ground to work together, right? Let’s find out.
With the next several articles in December, I just may pick a few topics that are part of what may be coming our way. In what kind of package they come will depend on how our representatives and each of us conduct the conversation here at home and across the nation. Let us find a way to bring some reprieve from the seemingly unending harm being done by the press and, yes, us people. These two months, November and December, give us a rare and timely opportunity to give thanks for our families, our community, and our nation. My hope is we all will be able to celebrate and say to each other, “That is what freedom looks like.”