Here’s a question for you. Are the following statements, which I’ve seen on social media these past few days alone, about Trump or Biden:
- The man is an idiot.
- He will destroy this country.
- He’s a fanatic.
- He’s a liar.
- This man is truly evil.
What’s the answer? Trump or Biden?
What would Yoda say?
Well, for that I’ll have to turn to a guy everyone loves (why can’t he be president), Yoda.
Remember that scene in Return of the Jedi, when Yoda is asked by Luke what is in the cave, and Yoda responds, “Only what you take with you.”
The same is true with the dark and scary cave of politics these days. What you’ll find in there is only what you take with you.
The answer to the above question depends on who you are, how you see the political cave and what you take with you.
Many people whom I guide are certain it’s Trump. Others are unequivocal that it has to be Biden. Neither side can imagine there’s anyone out there who would dispute this, certainly anyone decent, definitely not someone with a brain.
Minds are made up. Battle lines have been drawn. The animosity, the vitriol, the anger, the hate…it’s not only ripping through our world, and our hearts, but as many of you know it’s ripping through our homes. I’m right. You are wrong. I’m good. You are bad. That’s the end of the discussion. And I am done with you!
For me this political turmoil ripping families apart hits painfully close to home.
Let me tell you about one of my earliest memories.
The year was 1980 and I was at my grandmother’s house. I was in one room drawing and my dad, his brother and my grandparents were in the other room arguing politics.
One brother was passionate about Regan, the other Carter, and my grandparents were caught in the middle. Debating became arguing became yelling, and the next thing I heard was the door being slammed so hard it literally shattered the frame, came unhinged and glass shattered everywhere.
Worse still, my dad and his brother didn’t speak after that for a long time. I remember feeling heartbroken, confused and more than just a little afraid.
I also remember wondering how a family could come undone over something like this?
My mistake, regret and shame
Fast forward some twenty years, and I not only understood, I became guilty of the same.
My dad and I, although close most of my life, went through a period of time where we would butt heads. It wasn’t over politics. We disagreed about religion.
Back then I was growing more fervent and more rigid in my religious practice. And he, at least from my perspective, was diving off the deep end into the woo woo waters of spirituality. Our worlds collided. Our conversations escalated into debates, which turned into shouting, which devolved into some really, dark, disrespectful and ugly crap coming from both directions.
After one particularly nasty screaming match, my dad and I didn’t speak for nearly a year.
Now he my dad is dead. The time we lost is a regret I will carry with me.
The shame I feel for violating the commandment, “honor your father,” and disrespecting my dad, will accompany me to the grave!
Funerals Gone Wild
Of course I’m not alone.
Do you know how many funerals I’ve officiated at where families are torn apart through religion, beliefs and politics?
This child won’t talk to that child because of passionate beliefs? Where one person is cast out as the black sheep because of her views about this, that or the other? Where parent and child haven’t spoken in decades all because they are entrenched in their position, adamant the other is not only wrong, but bad for believing what they believe?
Far too many, that’s how many.
I’ve literally had to break up fist fights, separate where family members sit, I even once had to call the police – think Maury Povitch meets the pulpit. It was that bad!
What About You & Your Family
Today, there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t counsel a client who is free from such suffering over this political race. It is dividing their family. It is tearing apart their friendships. It is ripping through their community. Worst of all, it is revealing some deep and ugly darkness within them. They are living in reaction, in anger, and like me, they are one political argument gone bad from having to live with regret and shame as their relationship will be torn apart.
So let me just say this.
- If you are that young man in the car arguing with your dad,
- If you are that grown woman not speaking to your brother,
- If you are that person who has cut off her friends over politics, over religion, over beliefs, unless you are dealing with violence, or moral betrayals or clear abuse, then…
Stop! It isn’t worth it. Get over it, go around it or let it go!!!
Soon, this election will be over, and you are not careful, your relationship with that person could be over with it.
Don’t kick your loved one out of your car.
Don’t storm out of your family’s home and slam that door.
Don’t sit on opposite sides of the church or synagogue, divide your families and go to war; not over this race!
So go cast your ballot. Vote for whomever you will. Then call your mother or your brother or your friend whom you know just cancelled out your vote. But before you do, and each and every time that desire to debate arises, recite the words of Wayne Dyer, and your newfound relationship saving mantra: “I can choose peace rather than this.”