With the election upon us and the country divided into numerous factions, I bring delusional hope to the table.
Having taught mythology at SC4 for a few years, I favor the version of Pandora’s box - the story of all the ills coming into the world but at the bottom of the box lies Hope - that provides the word delusional in front of Hope. Delusional - the cold dash of reality that chills hope – but still, hope is with us, and that is something good, we think.
Yes - I’m aware of possibly engaging in a fantasy, relying on hopes for healing even before the hard work of governing begins. But to help hope along, to keep hope from being totally delusional, note that humans have more in common with each other than the differences that drive our rage.
· We all need food, water, rest, and health. The guy screaming at me may enjoy my favorite birthday dish – raspberry pie – more than I. He may not have had any rest due to working three jobs to feed his family. And who knows what kind of health issues – perhaps none of his own doing – might bedevil him or his loved ones?
· We all need a sense of security: a feeling of safety, a real shelter, and some stability in life. When it comes to security, someone who I feel insecure about is someone else’s security blanket. I can’t blame anyone for needing to feel secure, but I might disagree with how someone fulfills that need.
· We need a social life: to feel love, to belong, to be included, and this is where the Novel corona virus hurts us all. We are told by our medicine men and women that we need to give up on the social side as we once knew it, and we don’t wanna. Well, just like most of our parents told us to eat those veggies and we didn’t wanna, this is tough, but sometimes love is.
· We need to feel good about ourselves, our self-esteem, to be recognized for what we do. The guy dressed as a 1776 patriot, who waves the flag “Don’t Tred on Me,” might feel his views are dismissed, disrespected, ignored. So he shouts louder, waves the flag with more vigor, squeals his tires and flips a finger. It’s recognition, not the way I go about it, but it’s his.
· We need a sense of self, of who we are as a mother, father, child, athlete, family member, essential or non-essential worker. With so many jobs lost, so many people dead or now disabled in some way before their time, with so much upheaval, who are we now? It’s the world turned upside down. I see it every day, as do you. We see it where we go, where we used to eat, play, relax, just be. Recovering a sense of our self – perhaps our new self – will take some time.
· We want our children and grandchildren to do as well or even better – at everything. Often, this is seen as doing well economically, and while important, Covid has moved the needle from essential to non-essential and vice versa regarding much of the world we knew. I used to be frustrated with my grandmother’s response to my question about what she wanted for her birthday or Christmas. “Good health, Johnny,” she would say.
These common aspects among us help define us as human. The work of psychologist Abraham Maslow is the basis for these common elements. How we deal with or address these wants is another concern. As we have too often seen, verbally assaulting the other human with slurs, racial comments, or personal attacks – we need to call that out for what it is: harmful, hateful, and destructive. It tears us all down and builds walls between us.
What will help is being aware of where we are, what we should be doing – treating each other well – and taking time to understand what has happened and what is happening. Time will help us address our needs in this new world, as will a large dose of understanding. Understanding is something we can do for not only ourselves, but just as importantly for others: our neighbors, friends, and those who may be shouting the exact opposite of how we feel politically, personally, or professionally.
When this election ends, I hope to keep in mind the common needs humans share more than dwelling on our differences, as together, we carry on with our common ways in an uncommon world.
Thanks for reading; thanks for voting. Be well; stay safe.