I Was Wrong About Romney and Ryan


I still have work to do before my classes. In fact there’s really not time for me to get it done in time. I tell you that so that you can know how very important it is to me that I get this out there before I hurry about my (typically) busy day.

I fully expect to live to see tomorrow but I know that probably everybody who ever did get run over by a bus (or whatever) also felt the same way (unless they stepped in front of the bus on purpose, of course) and I have every intension to live as long as I’m blessed to be able to.  I just wouldn’t want anything to happen to me before I had the chance to say this:

I’ve been wrong in the way I’ve written and talked  about Romney, Ryan and all those people who support them. Please just know that all my toxic hatred has come out of a long history of injury. Not only because I’m queer but in all the many other ways I live in the margins of this culture, I have most often in my life felt like an outsider– not really welcome at the big (metaphorical) table and because of this, I have suffered.

I have also (from a very early age) been able to look at people in other oppressed groups and felt a strong identification with them because I really could see their suffering as well.  In my mind, the suffering for all of us was coming from a (mostly unified) oppressor group. By hearing some of the familiar, hurtful things coming from the mouths of the GOP candidates, other Republican politicians, and they people who support them; I have come to connect them in a profound way to my suffering and the suffering I’ve observed in others.  When you hurt bad enough for long enough, you tend to get vicious. I always think of a small animal caught (but still alive) in a bear trap. If you try to get close enough to help, you’re likely to get bit yourself and often the little guy will actually chew his own leg off to try free himself. (Boy, do I know that one well!) Here’s the important part of that metaphor: I have always thought of the trap as being representative of the oppressor group but in truth the trap is actually my hatred of them. I don’t want to be caught in that trap. And I don’t want to have to chew my leg of to get free. So how does the trap get opened? I ask God in my mind, “How does the trap get opened?” and the answer comes immediately, as it always does: forgive.  And I know that, just as with all other spiritual matters, my first and most important action is with the self.  Before I can go forgiving all the people who I perceive have harmed me, I have to first forgive myself.  I have to forgive myself for not being one hundred percent perfect one hundred percent of the time. Then I can start to forgive those whom I perceive as being destructive to my sense of security, my liberty, my access to justice and my freedom. Coincidentally, they seem to be the same people whom I perceive to be causing others to suffer.

Hurt people hurt people. You’ve heard that before, right? It took me a bit to wrap my head around it when I first heard it. It helped me to think of the times I have hurt others and ask myself the question, “Could it be possible that I came to a place of causing pain in others’ lives because of some pain I had experienced, because I had been hurt in some way?” The answer was/is yes. It can even mean being hurt by some limiting ideology that someone passed on to me. Have I ever bought in to some “low vibration” belief system that ended up causing great pain to others? You betcha. And sadly I probably will again. But I’m going to keep trying to change and grow and do better. That’s the most I believe God expects of me and should never expect more of myself that God does.

Here’s an important point that might not be obvious: the desire to have a forgiving attitude toward those whose actions cause harm to me and others does not mean that I should condone hurtful behavior. But if I really want someone to stop doing something harmful, is shredding them by tongue, pen or sword really going to move the world forward? One of the things my forty-seven years on this planet has taught me for sure is that people never change their mind or their behaviors by having others scream how stupid they are at them. People change because the “place” they are is full of suffering and they see another “place” that seems to be filled with less suffering, joy even. They say, “I want that over what I have.” The groups of people with which I want to associate always grow in number by attraction rather than promotion.

And finally, the real point:

I was wrong about Romney and Ryan (and all those who support them). I don’t really think they do what they do out of some innate need or desire to harm me or others. I do truly believe they are acting/behaving/campaigning in what they believe to be the very best way based on their belief systems, the information they’ve been given, and their experiences in life. Isn’t that exactly what I’m doing as well?

Don’t worry, I’ll continue to trumpet loudly what I think is best for our country and for the world. To my way of thinking, it’s my obligation to participate in this experiment in democracy and beyond that, to occasionally put down all these electronic gadgets of Western privilege and remember there other people riding this globe as well. As cliché as it sounds, I also want to be a good citizen of the planet–a member of a global family, and not just “a good American.”

My action:

(Not that they know who I am but) I would like to ask forgiveness from Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Gentlemen, much of what I have heard from you feels frightening to me. I do not doubt your love for this country or your desire to serve the People. My hard-won wisdom (such that it is) tells me that your policies are not good for us and so I am compelled to fight for policies that seem to me to be more egalitarian in nature. But for the ways that I have publically ridiculed you, often including personal attacks, attacks of your religions or for ways that I have tried to incite class warfare, I apologize.

Also, to the people who support Romney, Ryan, and the Republican Party– I ask your forgiveness too. I am frightened. My study of history has led me to believe that the policies you support have lead humanity into its darkest hours. I understand that you don’t feel that way so for all the ways I have used my talents as a writer or my quick wit or sharp tongue to hurt you, I’m sorry. When I do that, I’m only creating more derision, more division and more fear. That’s not the world I want to live in. My sincere prayer is that all of you (including those candidates you support) get every single thing you could possibly need to be truly  happy and fulfilled in this life.

Okay, that’s done. Now hopefully if I do get hit by a bus today, I will have left less messiness behind than the bus will.

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