Wednesday, November 30, 2016

E Pluribus, Unum?

By the wayside (Own work) [CC BY 1.0 

We are broken.

We are broken
at the very least.

We are broken 
and destroyed
at the extreme worst. 

We have long hidden
the chasms,      the schisms
are pulling open
no longer holding
the resentment
the anger
the hostility
 the hate

the deep divide
as tamped down
all encompassing
bubbles and oozes
to the surface
threatening to tear
the democratic fabric 
we wear
so unaware.

We watch in dismay
as freedom of speech
becomes  a civil war
rather than a civil responsibility
a civil right.

Our tongues and pens
are swords
cutting into
our Pluribus
our fictitious Unum.

Sapna Chand [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

How do we talk to each other?
How do we walk back from the abyss to a place safe enough to have a conversation-- to a space of critical and constructive, yet compassionate and kind discourse?

And what conversations need to be had to close the distances between us?

How do we tell our stories and be heard?
How do we hear  the stories others tell us?

How do we integrate facts accurately and significantly into our discourse?
How we humanize data and statistics so that we understand the human stories represented by each number, each percentage, each bar graph and pie chart?

How do we respectfully lift the invisible--that which we don't see, choose not to see, out of the context in which it remains hidden?

How do we train ourselves to see?

How do we foster talking with rather than talking to, at,  past, and around each other's Truths.

How do we talk to each other?

Some of my past blog posts may be helpful as we individually and collectively figure out how to talk to each other and how to teach our children and  our students.... and ourselves to also listen.

Included in most of the posts are books and other  resources that may be useful for current and necessary conversations.

We Are All Alike, We Are All Different

Remaking Our World

Open Season on Black Men

Ferguson and Other Nightmares

Social Justice


Against Forgetting: Poetry of Witness

The Poetry of Resilience

I, Too, Am America

Who Are We in America?

Black Lives Matter..., Too:  Let's Talk

An American Lyric:  Claudia Rankine

The Rights of Children

The Danger of a Single Story

You Do Not Define Me:  Telling Our Own Stories

 Today's Deeper Writing  Possibilities

Identify a person with a different perspective, opinion, or experience than your own.

Have an extended conversation with that person-- listening to understand her point of view and how she arrived at her thinking and understandings.  Share your own point of view-- identifying, if possible, places where your thinking converges,

Write a reflection or poem about your conversation, clearly explaining both points of view, and points of agreement.

Include any questions that remain about your partner's position and your own.Also identify any surprising  points or lessons learned.

If possible, share your writing with the person with whom you had the original conversation
Encourage them to write their perceptions and memories of the same conversation and share  with you.