listen well…

Here is simply a brief rant. It’s not political, well, perhaps a little but not really.

Earlier this week an 8-year-old boy walked up to Michelle Bachmann and told her that his mommy is a lesbian and that she doesn’t need fixing. Bachmann was stunned and speechless. She had gotten pawned, blindsided. For a moment, watching that clip I could understand Ms Bachmann’s reaction. What WOULD one say in that moment? There is nothing that could have been said well. She was not going to argue with an 8-year-old. She was not going to counter his statement. She was not going to chide the mother for encouraging the boy to say this. To say nothing was the only course of action.

To continue to say nothing is probably the best next step for Michelle Bachmann if she’s got nothing new to offer. I doubt this boy’s statement changed her mind in the least. She may feel angry that she was caught off guard, that it was caught on camera. She may feel embarrassed.

I’m not here today to challenge your beliefs about homosexuality and about same-sex marriage. I’m not posting today to defend any position here. I’m merely making a small observation about this one awkward and powerful moment caught on video and placed online. For one moment Michelle Bachmann was confronted with a human woman and her little boy standing before her. In this one moment she was asked to listen and to listen well.

You know, I think it is easy to form abstract thoughts about groups of people. Groups of people have a mash of faces and personalities. Sometimes they occupy parks across from our office buildings and we make judgements about them. “They’re messy. They’re loud. They’re hippies.” Sometimes groups of people vote for candidates we don’t like, “They love corporations. They’re gun-toting whackos. They hate muslims.” Part of the reason I love tumblr sites like the We are the 99% site is because it forces me to see #OWS people as individuals rather than a mish mashed group. Part of the reason I like my diverse readership/real life friends/social media folks is because it helps me to see and hear people one on one, real and full of flesh and blood. This is vital. Whether I agree with their political/religious/life choices or not it’s vital that I open myself to the truth that groups of people, all groups of people are a collection of individuals and that I am in relationship with them.

So today, I’m not asking you to change what you believe about homosexuality or politics or religion. I’m merely asking you to listen to each other and to listen well. When someone expresses a belief you do not agree with rather than tear them down or tell them how very wrong they might be why not try listening and hearing WHY they believe that. Ask questions. Ask a lot of questions and hear the answers they give. This is not to say that we’re not to challenge each other. Truly, we need to do this so that we’re all healthier in the long run. For the most part, though we spend too much time defending our own turf and not enough time remembering that we are not actually at war with our neighbor. It’s a good thing to remember in a season of love.

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2 thoughts on “listen well…

  1. I was impressed that Michelle knew to leave well enough alone. I was unimpressed with the tactics of the mother who inserted her child in a disagreement that he shouldn’t be in at 8 years old. It’s a hard enough disagreement for adults.

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