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My dad built me this dollhouse when I was young, and I could not have loved it more. I still love it. It stands in our family room and I buy tiny things for it every once in a while. It has electric lights and sometimes I switch them on so the miniature people inside can find their way around.
I spent so many hours sitting with my back to the world, moving furniture around and imagining happy and troubling scenarios for the the little family. (Seriously the place was fraught with danger. There were tornados and break-ins, and Grandma got her head mauled by our real, giant, living cat.) I was so focused when I played with it, that everything else disappeared. The only thing that bothered me was there were no doorways between the rooms, so the people had to sort of fly around to the other rooms. This disparity with reality concerned me deeply and I tried to ignore it as much as I could.
The reason I’m thinking of my dollhouse is that I feel a sadness today that only an escape into make-believe could soothe. I didn’t vote for Trump, and his tasteless remarks and defensive texting concern me much more than the missing doors in my dollhouse ever did.
But what concerns me most is the divisiveness between his supporters and non-supporters. I. Hate. Politics. Though I know they’re a necessary evil, the polarization they engender is vastly unsettling. There are people I love so much on both sides of this, and that leaves me feeling torn and woebegone. I have my own strong opinions, but I don’t want to disrespect the feelings of those who differ from me.
I mentioned on here before that I read the book Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. That book and the media at large have covered the divisiveness and feelings of disenfranchisement rampant in our country. People are hurting, and I hope we can all work to heal them no matter who is president. Conversely, I hope we can all work to heal the people who feel they will be hurt by this election.
The world is a hard place, and just the way we’re built means our backs are always turned toward something, someone. The best we can do to counteract this is continue to turn around – to try and see everyone. To value them. To not dismiss them.
Our prefrontal lobes give us the edge over other species, but just. We have to continue to work on being human, humane. John Lennon asked, “Can’t we all just get along?” Well, it seems we can’t. We don’t all see things the same way and we never will. But perhaps we can do better.
I watched the film Heart of a Dog by Laurie Anderson the other night. It’s a beautiful film about loss in her life, of people and her dog. In it, she says that a Buddhist told her it was fine to feel sad, but don’t be sad. Feel sad, but don’t be sad. Do you understand this? I’m not sure I do, completely, but I think it’s an idea worth wrangling with. I think it has to do with hope.