We the People

A secret writer from a pragmatic blue-collar neighborhood, Marie White Small brings her skills as a florist, waitress, antiquarian bookseller, bookbinder, cook, and pie-baker to the page.

shutterstock_47675386We the people have blood on our hands. All of us, because like it or not, we are all in this together. The murderous three days we have witnessed are again a stark and tragic reminder of our broken discourse, our entrenched racism, our inadequate gun regulations, and our broken hearts.

By world standards, we are a young nation, and mired in what seems to be our national adolescence. How long are we going to loudly and childishly continue our tantrum? Will our stamping feet facilitate additional tragedies for more families? Why can’t we work toward solving problems, instead of all this infighting?

We fight about race and religion, African Americans and Muslims. We fight about LGBT people and rest rooms. We fight about whose God is the right god. We fight about guns and terrorism, about which constitutional amendment bears more weight: the right to bear arms, or the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We fight . . .shutterstock_237428071

The underpinning of most of these tantrums is fear. It’s easy to buy into; among other outcomes, fear drives political campaigns and gun sales. It fosters mistrust and hatred; and it seems like the easy way out.

But it isn’t.

Maybe I have learned some personal lessons. Twice I have married into Republican families complete with edges of racism, a belief in creationism, and misogyny, not to mention a penchant for guns. I had to learn to be respectful, because whether I agreed with my in-laws or not, or that their questions irked me, I owed them respect. When my in-laws put me on the spot, I did not answer their loaded questions; to do so would have lit a tempest fire. Instead I made jokes, excused myself to the call of nature, and as elegantly as possible,