There is a new persona taking up residence in my psyche, and I’m not sure how to deal with him, or even if he’s welcome. For 75 years I’ve thought to emulate my father. He was a kind, gentle man. I don’t think I ever heard him say a harsh word. He could talk to anyone and frequently did, making friends at the grocery, the filling station, restaurants. I liked that about him, and for most of my life, I think I’ve done a decent job of being like him.
But I’ve noticed a change of late. I think it started showing up a couple of months ago, right around the election. Elections are usually quite simple; like any competition, the team that scores the most points, wins. But suddenly we had a small faction who believed they won even though they scored less points. They contested the result, and even though the refs reviewed the game film and found no basis for their complaints, they persisted.
They persisted because they were egged on by a narcissistic, deluded, right-wing bigot (Sorry, dad, for my choice of words). They persisted to the point of engaging in criminal activity whose soul purpose was to deprive the majority of the the victory they rightfully won. The persisted to the point of causing harm to those who stood in their way, be they journalists, politicians, policemen, or innocent bystanders.
I watched the terrorists do their thing, and when I asked how this could possibly happen in this country, my new frightened persona told me I couldn’t trust anyone. Some of this now violent element wear the markings of their beliefs; they wear clothing or carry flags declaring their loyalties. But many do not, and this is what frightens my new persona.
As I take my walks, I keep my COVID 19 distance from people I meet on sidewalks and trails. But my new persona adds a new consideration to that distance, a distrust, a fear of contact. I truly don’t like this new feeling. I don’t want it to be a part of me, but I’m unsure of how to get past it. I know that in time “this too shall pass.” All of the terrorists and their leaders will be gone one day, as will I. It’s just so difficult to witness the misery caused by a few dissidents who believe any means justifies their selfish ends.
And to my frightened personal, afraid to trust, I beg, I plead, I optimistically proclaim – it will get better. Be patient, be compassionate, be kind. It will get better!