Friday, August 28, 2009

Compassion and Grace

I am still inspired and driven by Fierce Conversations.

Are some political issues especially contentious because no one is listening and no one feels heard? What would happen if there were more (any?) fierce conversations in politics?

Would birthers be able to explain why they want to deny the legitimacy of Obama's presidency? Would the American public be able to have an open and honest discussion about health care?

My thoughts on the subject, I'm sure, betray how very optimistic I am. Donald suggested that in order for this kind of conversation to take place, especially on hot-button issues, a significant amount of logic, patience, and understanding must be expressed by the participants. I believe that each of us is capable of having engaging, patient, and fierce conversations about any issue. The first step is learning how.

My first step is to actively live what I believe, to put what I want to do with my life into action in every context. My biggest hurdle seems to be avoiding making assumptions. It's harder than I realized, because I do it all the time, to the detriment of others and myself. I not only have to listen to myself when I speak, I have to listen to myself when I think.

This is an exercise in compassion and grace. If I am a better person, do I make the world a better place?


  1. Oh, Daphne, I do not at all believe your thoughts betray your optimism at all. To me it is quite the opposite. On this end of the fence, (50’s) it is difficult to be optimistic about things political. I believe that Rep. Frank’s screaming insults at a woman who asked a question, is a microcosm of what my country has become. Sad, this.

    I believe that there is always a price to pay if one lives what they believe. And, there is a price to pay if one does not live what they believe. The first mentioned is by far the hardest.

    I have listened to why people who do not believe the President is a citizen and decided that even if they are correct, it matters little at this point. On the other hand, there is great discounting of people who ask questions of politicians. Reminds me of my response to my then three year old on occasions when my power and authority as a parent were misused on him. Abuse of power is deadly to the spirit be it abuser or the abused.

    Unfortunately, I have contempt for most politicians, matters not the persuasion. I believe nothing short of a tragedy will get the attention of a very corrupt government on both sides of the proverbial political aisle. A gift from my parents, fortunately, I can usually put myself in the other person’s shoes. If it is difficult for me to have a “Fierce Conversation,” is it not possible that is difficult for Rep. Frank to have a “Fierce Conversation?” One may speak with authority and eloquence but in the end it is the same as screaming with authority and contempt unless there is a modicum of honesty.

    In my line of work, I hear a lot about “the system,” “the system” took advantage, “the system” was unfair, “the system” exploits.....then I remember. Oh, “the system” includes me.

    I believe you are “right on” with how easy it is to make assumptions about people and their beliefs. For me it is not so much about being a better person. It is about taking better action and I suppose that would indeed make me a better person.

  2. I agree with the making assumptions piece - be it with politics or other issues. I do that...even to Tim. Which, inevitably, turns into some kind of small tiff...because I ASSUME THE WORST when it really wasn't that at all..

  3. Belle: Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! I like the questions you raised. I completely agree that action (and speaking) is what is needed. Simply telling myself that I'm better if I think better things is not nearly enough.

    booshy: Thanks for commenting, as always. Isn't it amazing how a tiny assumption can turn into a huge discussion? I have definitely done that to Donald too, and it hurts him for me to make unfair assumptions about something he did (or didn't do). I have to remember my faith that people are doing the best they can with what they have. It can be VERY hard to believe that at times.

    For both, I think the key is to remember that MOST of the people are doing their best MOST of the time. The ones we hear about on TV are NOT representative of the population at large. Don't let it get you down!


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