Republican or Democrat? No, a Poet.

In her new book, Bittersweet, bestselling author and speaking Susan Cain narrates a story that took place during the civil war that left Sarajevo a shell of its former beauty.

A journalist/correspondent watches as close to 50,000 displaced people emerge from a forest after escaping an attack.

The correspondent asks an elderly man if he is a Muslim or a Croat.

“I am a musician,” the man responds.

I have written little during these days of extreme political polarity, little because so many are writing so much about it, little because I can do so little about it.

At least, that is how I often feel.

But is it true?

The journalist who asked the question was haunted by the man’s response years afterward. Haunted and humbled.

“I am a musician.”

And me? I am no musician, but I am a thinker. I am a poet. I am a highly sensitive person.

I grieve at the polarity and the tension, the anger that runs hot and the lack of true dialog and discourse and understanding between one side and the other.

How quickly anger and disrespect can turn to violence.

Is this what we are waiting for?

Is this what we want?

I believe that some people think so, but these must be those who do not truly think it through, just how much damage can be done in such a short amount of time.

And how such damage is, in most cases, irrevocable.

It cannot be undone.

Am I a Republican or a Democrat?

No, I am not.

And I feel that we have done and are doing a great disservice to a nation and to its peoples and to the deep and nuanced issues we face as its people by thinking that we can so easily cut any one matter into just two sides …

And assume that a person must stand so easily on one side or the other.

And assume that if a person feels strongly about one thing that is considered a Republican value, then they must feel the same about every single thing that is pushed forward by the Republican agenda …

And the same for the Democrats.

How simplistic and shallow we must be if we think that everything cuts so cleanly, so surgically, and falls so easily to one side or the other.

What if, instead, we chose different words in our dialog?

Claimed different words for ourselves and our beliefs?

Are you a Republican or a Democrat?

I am a musician. I am a poet. I am a highly sensitive person.

I am a teacher. I am a lover. I am a parent.

I am a human, a feeler, a thinker, a believer.

Are you not as well?


HSP Reflection on The Story We Share

Although we often fail to recognize it, we all share the same story

The story of falling and at times being rescued

The story of sometimes continuing to fall with no hand to arrest the descent

Yet the story we share is also of finding unexpected grace in unexpected places

We all share the same story, yet the parts that we share are the parts we have the hardest time seeing

Of families that build us and break us and build us again

Of friends that see us and know us and, grace upon grace, accept us

Of some friendships that falter yet rise again stronger and some that fracture completely and are never rebuilt again

We All Share the Same Story

Of hope that ends in death and hope that transcends death and hope that knows that death is just another part of the journey

This story we share yet we fail to see for the things wherein we differ

Color and culture, religion and race

Which leader might save us from the darkness we face

I cannot take your hand and arrest your fall if my fist is clenched against you

You cannot take mine and hold it in friendship if you hold to only the differences we carry

We, family, cannot cross the bridges we build if we burn them again and again

Sister, brother, take my hand

Father, mother, let us stand

Friend, oh friend, the story we share is greater than the places we differ

And maybe the story of falling and redemption, of grace after grace after grace …

… is enough …

… to heal us and make peace and carry us through

To the next part of the story