Thursday, July 4, 2019

Considering the Fourth of July



LUCY BURDETTE: I had the choice today of posting a photo of a flag and wishing us all happy birthday. But it felt hard to settle for that after our last two weeks in Ireland and Scotland. For me, a good reason for traveling is to get lifted out of my own small version of the world and see things as others see them. 

The histories of Scotland and Ireland are rife with conflict and loss and rivalry. One small castle in the neck of Scotland witnessed power sawing back and forth over centuries between warring factions with many lives cruelly lost in the process. In Ireland, we heard about the violence of the Troubles, the conflicts between Protestants and Catholics. In both countries we witnessed the pain of countries ripped into pieces. This is a war song written and sung by Colin Urwin of Haste to the Wedding that we heard in the storytelling barn. (Recording of the band's music will be coming soon...)



We also heard news stories about what might happen if Brexit is adopted--many Scots we met believe that if Brexit goes through, Scotland will vote to become independent. Though this might result in a recession and many difficult adjustments in their relationship with the UK, some believe this is the better path. (The American Psychological Association Monitor published a recent article describing how people are suffering from anxiety and depression after the Brexit vote--regardless of which side they voted for.) Change will come hard...

Also while we were away, we read stories about the police shooting in South Bend, Indiana, and watched videos of the angry response from African Americans in South Bend. And heard more terrible stories about the growing border crisis. I've pasted another song below from Colin about the losses that come from segregation...



  Does all change have to come through human suffering? Have we not learned anything from history? I was encouraged by our visit to Liz Weir's barn--she was invited to work with the team attempting to make peace in Ireland--through storytelling. I can't say exactly how that might have worked, though I imagine it involved a lot of listening, and learning from history, and setting smaller egos aside in the service of a greater good. 

In fact she has said“When we started off the Troubles were at their height, and somebody would get up and tell a story about an Orange Lodge dinner, and somebody else would tell a story about going to Mass. The fact was we were all listening to each other’s stories, and respecting each other’s stories, and I think that’s very important. If you listen to someone’s story, you’re giving the utmost respect.” 



My wish for our country’s birthday—that we listen to each other and find a peaceful way to move past the contentiousness we are mired in these days....how about you?

Diannekc, you are the winner of the Wicked prize package. Please email Barbaraannross at gmail dot com to arrange delivery--congrats!

41 comments:

  1. Although I suspect it’s rather na├»ve of me, I have never understood why people can’t just get along and treat each other with dignity and respect . . . honestly, it doesn’t seem like such a difficult thing.
    I, too, wish we could find our way past all the contentiousness. We could look for the best in each other and enjoy the celebration of our country’s birthday . . . .

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  2. Thank you for these lovely tunes and words. Our country is going through some dark times right now, but we have before and we always pull through. May we do so again.

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  3. We heard plenty about Brexit in both Ireland and Northern Ireland. And toured the peace lines in Belfast. And wonder what will happen to our beautiful country.

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  4. Thank you for sharing your insight with us today. I lean in your direction on this: Listening to each other will be how we recover going forward because it’s the bridge in the healing. As for a holiday today - I’m taking a knee.

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  5. Lucy, thanks for the posting--will be listening to the music as the day progresses. I think it's the people in the middle who must make their voices heard these days--there will be no slacking of vitriol and hatred spewing from those whose leaders constantly inflame their bases. Somehow we've got to find a way to inject reason and deliberation back into the political processes of this country. That's my wish today.

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    1. I couldn't agree more, Flora! I never foresaw the day when being a moderate would take courage.

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  6. I am going to spend today making music and focusing on the ideals that have made the United States of America an example of what is possible to people all around the world. There will be bunting and streamers, plus some hot takes on Glenn Miller and other music beloved by the veterans of D-Day, 75 years on. It will be fun. It will be a celebration of unabashed Americana, and I won't spend a minute trying to figure out the political leanings of the folks in our audience.

    When I get home at the end of a long, tiring day, I will curl up and try to help my dogs survive the noise from the fireworks display on the other side of town. I won't spend a minute thinking about celebrations in DC, or red states and blue states. I will most likely be thinking about my friends and loved ones, and how rich my life is despite the fact that we fall on all sides of the political spectrum. We are good people of good will, who care about each other and love our flawed but fabulous country. And then, tomorrow, I'll go back to doing my small part to make this flawed but fabulous country just a little bit better.

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  7. I think there's a certain amount of truth in change comes from discomfort. If you're comfortable, why change? We've taken to unfortunate extremes sometimes, though.

    Here's hoping we can inject some moderation into the current conversation. As Edith says, we've done it before (including while writing that document we're supposed to be celebrating today).

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  8. I love this post, Lucy. Though I confess, I am not optimistic. Social media gives people anonymous cover to say things most of us would never say to another human being face to face. And it seems like many of us are living in the equivalent of an echo chamber.

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  9. Ignorance and poverty are still the enemies. Good stories can only help. Keep writing gang!

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  10. Nice post Lucy.

    What I wish is that people that I don't share the same beliefs with would stop expecting me (and everyone else that doesn't share their beliefs) to kowtow to them.

    I'm not asking them to change what they believe, just leave me out of it. Funny how much better everyone would be that way.

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  11. Thank you, dear Lucy. I agree—there’s no real listening or consideration or conversation. Everyone already knows what they think, and everyone insist that that is right, and no one is interesting about hearing anything else. And that can never work. But the Fourth of July, I can’t help it, it gives me some optimism… even though today it’s more difficult than usual. love to you all.

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    1. Today is definitely more difficult than usual. I'm glad I'm heading to Medford to spend the day with my bestie and her toddler granddaughter, two of my favorite people in the world. No jingoism, just love and play and eating.

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  12. I think the best that I can do is try to be a positive influence in my own personal environments, in the hope that it will have a ripple effect. Right now I’m trying to decide whether or not to do a self-imposed moratorium on reading/listening to anything except local news. If something drastic happens, someone is sure to tell me. But being someone who “needs” to know and wants
    to keep informed, for the most part, I don’t know how that would work. Meanwhile, I will continue with trying to build people up, and trying to be grateful for the small and big blessings in my life.

    DebRo

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  13. Thank for this thought-provoking essay, Roberta/Lucy. I am increasingly alarmed and dismayed by the division, and the vituperation thrown at others. It's fueled by shadowy factions for their own purposes, and we have allowed this to happen to us, slowly and inexorably.

    My hope, though, is that our youth see a way through this, and help us get to a place where we can once again take pride in a country that started out as a way for all to be free and equal. My wish is that we once again strive for that goal. Of course we are not perfect, no one is. Ideally, each human being would be recognized as valuable. Because we are.

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  14. Thanks for the thoughtful essay, Lucy. We certainly have a lot to think about on this day. I've been rereading Deb Harkness's Time's Convert the last few days, which is partly the story of her character Marcus's experience in the American Revolution, so those events seem very real to me at the moment.

    Don't you think that books serve as storytelling, too? They are a way to bridge divides, I think.

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  15. We were a contentious nation from our very beginnings. Our mix of origins and our "sprawl" contributed, no doubt. Our postal service was created to stop the poaching of political rivals' mail, among reasons. I doubt that we will ever be completely united in any cause. But we should be able to discuss, debate, listen with respect. Or at least with courtesy. When courtesy comes back we'll be much better off as a nation.

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  16. Thank you sharing, Lucy. I can find something in each post today that I agree with, some more heartly than others, but agreement none the less. Now, I am going to enjoy the 4th with the people I love and the dog that makes my day, every day!

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  17. I share your sentiments completely, Lucy. I find it hard to celebrate the 4th like I used to these days because of all the tension.

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  18. I meditated about this holiday. I decided to release my inner Hippie and attend and promote
    the Lights for Liberty International demonstration which will happen on 12Jul19. In my meditative practice there is a training called "mindful listening". It is a way of listening without judgment, criticism or interruption, while being aware of internal thoughts and reactions that may get in the way of people communicating with you effectively. The purpose of mindful listening is not to solve the others issue, rather it is to form a loving connection.
    I hope I can both support a demonstration, and be able to practice mindful listening to the other side. What the country is doing now is not useful or even healthy. Perhaps we can take a step back and just look with non judgment?
    Oh, in case some of you will be with families and friends today here is a virtual firecracker (boom!).

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    1. thanks Coralee, the mindful listening sounds like what Liz talks about in her Irish storytelling. welcome to your inner hippie:)

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  19. Listening to each other's stories lets us know how we each got to where we are, and understanding the why of what we believe as well as the what is important. One of the people I talk to most deeply in my life is my son. We don't always feel the same way about something, but we do always listen to the other's feelings and viewpoints without arguing. Of course, it's really hard to apply that to views that are against everything you hold dear, as in what is happening in our country. But, I remain hopeful that compassion will prevail.

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  20. That’s a beautiful post, Lucy. These are contentious times and it is hard to find the positive. I tend to look toward the youth. They seem to have a better sense of right and wrong, fair play, and global responsibility. Although, I don’t really dig their music.

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    1. tee hee, what are they listening to Jenn? We can't expect them to fix everything we messed up, but they are smart and open-hearted and that means so much

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  21. Thanks Lucy Roberta. We’re on a news blackout here today, but the weather is gorgeous, our dogs don’t mind fireworks, and we had lobster rolls on the lake for lunch.

    Last night Julie corralled our neighbor’s dog who were terrified and running free in the neighborhood. Their dog sitter wasn’t sitting evidently. It took an hour and a lot of sweat. Big dogs, no collars, terrified. I. Can’t. Even.

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  22. Dogs, plural. A collie and a labradoodle.

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    1. we had an Aussie who freaked out with fireworks, not fun. Good old tonka never worried--at least about that!

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  23. If people would actually read history, they might get some perspective. I've read that people are attaching Trump, Obama, Bush, etc. and it's so terrible that people have no respect for the president and other elected officers. That has been happening since the start of politics. Andrew Jackson's wife was called an adulteress. Newspapers used to be published by party and didn't even try to be fair. Amazing that we still have a country but people compromised and that wasn't a dirty word. I hope that we all learn to work together. Happy 4th of July!

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    1. thanks Sally, sometimes it does seem amazing that we still exist!!

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  24. You can't hate a person once you know his/her stories. Thanks for sharing these. <3

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    1. And coming soon we need to do a whole post on storytelling Mary--I got swept away by Scotland:). You would have so much to share!

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