Division

Division is on my mind today. Not the long division that I struggled to learn in the fourth grade — a different kind of division, one that’s happening between the people in this country. I have come to accept that a large group of people in this country have felt disenfranchised for a very long time. What I have run out of patience for, and have a hard time understanding, is the retaliatory name calling, the mocking, the bullying and the overall meanness.  A friend called and asked my advice, concerned because he’s not sleeping very well in his new teardrop camper —  he doesn’t find the mattress as comfortable as he had hoped it would be.  I suggested he get in touch with a man I know, who has added a certain brand of foam topper to the mattress in his own trailer.  “Only if he didn’t vote for Trump,” was my friend’s response. Good grief, I thought, is he kidding? Or have things really come to this? I don’t know the answer and I didn’t press him for details but I found it disturbing. The truth is, I have absolutely no idea who my camping friend voted for, I can honestly say it has never come up.  A group of us meets once a month for breakfast and we talk about our teardrop campers, modifications made to them, problems we may have had, places we’ve been lately, people we’ve met on the road. As we’ve come to know one another better, some of the conversation has drifted to children, health and even financial issues. The people in this group have little in common except the fact that we all own T@B brand trailers.  Two are retired elementary school teachers, one is a man whose job was teaching people to drive tractor trailers, one woman is a secretary at a church, one a dealer at a tribal casino, one man used to ride rodeo, one is a retired sheriff and there are more. A varied lot — and yet I look forward to these get-togethers because I feel supported, without any questions or qualifications. Would things stay that way if politics were the subject? I’d like to think so but I don’t know — politics, as they say, is risky business.  The newspaper yesterday ran an article about a group of teenagers at a local high school who met in a forum-style setting to discuss the current crop of political candidates, including those in our highly contentious Fifth Congressional District race.  There was no rancor, no animosity, no hateful words exchanged. It was a meaningful dialog between people with very different opinions.  We can learn from these kids.

 

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