It’s been a week since our new president took office. The sheer pace of this last week exhausts me. The number of things that are threatened are so varied, so concerning, I’m not even sure where to start.
I’m someone who has friends from a variety of backgrounds; I’m always intrigued by people who are different from me. I’m going to write more about that next week, but one of the things I’ve realized in that time is that there are reasonable people everywhere.
We’re letting the extreme voices win right now and frankly, I’m tired of it and deeply concerned about it. I’m so done with Republicans and Democrats whom I love being cast by other people as evil, malicious, amoral, or unhealthy. To be honest, I think one of there reasons we got here as a country is because we spend too much time in our own tribes without listening to people whose opinions, beliefs, experiences, and politics differ from our own (I’m going to explore this in the weeks to come, so I’m just going to leave that large statement there for now and move on).
But I’m moving forward on the assumption that there are good people everywhere and that, even if things are about to get much worse, Team Reasonable will triumph eventually.
Today I’m launching the first Team Reasonable Roundup. On Fridays, I want to highlight people whose reasonable voices helped me to think more deeply about a topic or who spoke truth to power in an important, thoughtful way. Some of these are strangers and some of them are people I know. I think it’s helpful to identify personal moments too–not only is the political personal, but I think the small conversations and discussions over lunch or in the school pickup line or at the grocery store will be where things really change for our country.
Here they are, the winners of Team Reasonable this week:
- The #NeverTrump Republicans in my life. I have several friends who work in the Texas government; they are fiscally conservative, avidly in favor of state’s rights, devoutly Christian. They are deeply concerned right now with the direction of their party both in our state and in our country. They are doing everything they can in subversive ways to alter the direction–theirs are the voices that can get behind the closed doors and argue vehemently against the most extreme positions, whether it be on women’s health care, education, immigration, or refugee resettlement. They are not winning right now, but they are digging in and looking for opportunities to turn heads. I am placing most of my money on them–they are smart, determined, perceptive, nuanced, and very, very reasonable. I wish I could name them publicly, but they are like secret spies for Team Reasonable right now, so I’m only going to tell them: you are fighting the good fight and we are cheering you on. In fact, you might be our only hope. Keep it up. Come over for wine and maybe a nap when you need it. (And if you know Republicans in the government right now who are members of Team Reasonable, send them flowers and chocolate and maybe a massage–we need them more now than ever.)
- The Alt accounts on Twitter: Twitter, which seemed to be waning in popularity for awhile, is suddenly the site of all of our political battles (this concerns me more than almost anything now–140 characters allows for fun haikus and punchy rants, but zero nuance–Sad!). But as the president limits the official communication from government agencies, a fascinating group of alt accounts have cropped up on Twitter. There was Badlands National Park, the bad boy of park tweeters who sent out climate change facts before the account was shut down. Rogue NASA is amazing; even George Takei likes it. The most concerning has to be White House Leaks, the anonymous, brave Republican who is keeping the world posted on what is actually going on in there. There are too many to name, but keep it up, rogue tweeters! There are no alternatives to truth!
- The Marchers. I had the loveliest day I’ve had in awhile last Saturday at the Women’s March. We were thoughtfully determined. We felt joy while we walked. We found joy in each other. My big girls who went with me had never been so encouraged by total strangers; they thought it was a ticker tape parade just for them. I was deeply grateful to have experienced that day–so much humor, so much love, so many delightful people all united against hatred and misogyny and racism and unreasonableness. Now I can imagine all of us, back in our lives and in our situations, doing our part to turn the tide. It helps when I get worried about our lives. And I know that several people in my own life do not see the marchers as reasonable, but I will point out that millions of people gathered in peaceful protests against policies we disagree with and had no major incidents of violence or mayhem. We stood next to people with whom we don’t see eye to eye in many cases and yet we were able to overcome our differences in service to our larger concerns. If that’s not reasonable, I don’t know what is.
- Dan Rather: I crave Dan Rather’s take on our lives right now. While I’m flustered and stunned by the speed with which the government is moving on so many issues, Dan Rather’s Facebook feed for News and Guts (I hate that title, but there you are) has been one of the sources I’ve turned to to make sense of everything. Rather’s experiences give the kind of insider perspective I want–he’s interviewed presidents, he’s known these people–but he’s also able to do big picture work quickly. He’s the newscaster of the resistance and I’m so appreciative for his take.
- Madeleine Albright, former refugee: I’ve always loved the former Secretary of State but did not realize she fled the Czech Republic as a child. Her Facebook post about what it means to be a refugee did such a marvelous job of outlining the issues and identifying who “these people” are (clue: most of our grandparents and ancestors and many of us, in this nation of immigrants and refugees). Albright did a great job this week of laying it out and I wish more than anything else we had voices like hers near our president.