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Changing the Game: Politics and the Call of Self

Be the change that you wish to see in the world- Ghandi

Dorothy Firman
Source: Dorothy Firman

It doesn’t matter who you love (or hate) for the next president (senator, mayor, town librarian). It doesn’t matter whether you’re red or blue or your hair is died purple. There’s no one to answer to, but your Self. And if you are inclined, as most of us are, to play the us-against-them game, how’s that going to work for all of us? That game always ends up with winners and losers. That can’t work. There’s a great tee shirt that says The sports team from my geographical area is better than the sports team from yours! It all comes down to that. But why? And can we change it? Can I change me?

What if we watched the game (any game) and valued the players, saw their skills and their weaknesses, appreciated the complexity of the game, the grace and strength, the well thought out strategies, and we acknowledged the whole crowd as being pretty much like us, whichever team they were rooting for? What if we decided that we could take up a cause that was important to us, without looking for bad guys to blame? What if we cheered but never booed? What if we shouted out our support, but never heckled? I’m talking about full on activism, if that is your Call, but without the mud.

Not easy, for sure, because the lines get drawn so quickly and so thoroughly. And there is a strong human inclination to join a team, find a tribe, put up defenses, look at the outsider with suspicion, and finally make enemies. Didn’t we do that in the school yard? In our families? In therapy about our families? And inside our own inner worlds? There we make good and bad of most things, including different aspects of ourselves. Angel on one shoulder, devil on the other. Great cartoon image, lousy way to live. But we could listen to those little voices of yes and no, do and don’t, should and shouldn’t and not buy in. This is change. BIG change.

Dreamstime, used with permission
Source: Dreamstime, used with permission

So, I’ve got my Call and you’ve got yours. Somebody wins the Super Bowl, somebody becomes the next president. I know who I want and why (for the president, anyway…don’t care at all about the football game). I know what is important to me, what I value, what my deep wishes are and so, on that basis, I make my choice. If the candidate I prefer does not win, I will still hold those same values and I will still be able to lend my voice, my passion and my action to causes that support my values. And I don’t have to be sad, outraged, dejected, or even disappointed that the other candidate won. By the time there’s a new president, all of that is over and a whole new game has begun. Now what? How do I, now, with whatever outcome there is, move on to what I am called to do? The story has changed, and I change with it. And I can do this without polarizing. I’ll still work for what I believe in. I’ll still keep the faith, with whatever I’m passionate about, but the game changer is doing that without turning everyone who disagrees with me into a bad guy.

Behind the “Let’s be more civilized” message here, is another message. Let’s keep catching up to the present moment. That’s all we’ve got. Right now I can work for the candidate of my choice. I can root for the team of my choice. I can cheer the magnificent performance of the opera, or the high school play. In the past (only a memory really), I also did things that were important. I thought about the various candidates and their platforms, I figured out what sports I liked, I practiced my performance, I bought my tickets. And in the mythical future, I will also have choices about what to do, but by then it will be the present again. And really that’s where we belong.

Wouldn’t it be grand to have our present moments filled with the goodness of our hearts? Wouldn’t our world be a better place if we lived now in kindness, acceptance, compassion? We could add a few helpful qualities as well: curiosity; discernment; respect; love……

I vote for that. That’s a change I can get behind.

More from Dorothy Firman Ed.D. LMHC, BCC
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More from Dorothy Firman Ed.D. LMHC, BCC
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