For the past 10 days, I have been trying to write a poem. Yet my thoughts are in turmoil. As I arrange the words on the page, they riot and refuse to arrange themselves into verse. Much like what is going on in our nation. Many refuse to accept the election results; many others refuse to accept their disavowal.
I’ve said here before that we writers must speak up. We must hold firm to our beliefs. I still affirm this to be true. What I am having difficulty with is crafting a piece that is neither banal pablum nor condemning invective. The former barely nourishes and most lose taste for in early years; the latter is the method of transmission that so truly turns me off that I cannot employ it myself. Speak to me with intelligence, acknowledging my intelligence at the same time. Let us communicate. I have been so repelled by the current mode of shouting one’s ideas louder than one’s opponent rather than engaging in meaningful debate, that I cannot resort to it myself.
And so, my poem languishes.
I fear that we, Americans, have become incapable of meaningful discussion with those who hold opinions contrary to our own. We think we can. But I do not think we do. Rather, we say our piece, and in many cases shout our piece, and then stop. We may let the other talk, but we do not listen. We do not consider. We do not exchange ideas and learn from one another. Instead, we simply reaffirm our opinion more loudly.
In truth, we must learn to listen to one another instead of merely listening for the lull into which we can insert our own “truths.” Both sides must do this: our own as well as the opposition.
Do I dream? Perhaps. Yes. But we dreamers must continue to dream this wonderful world, this marvelous nation into the even more incredible reality it can be.