Friday, November 11, 2016

I sometimes forget how extraordinarily fortunate I have been.

Everyday, I get to speak with people of a color different from mine, and people who practice religions that differ from my own.
Even better, over time, I get to know them well. I get to call them friend.

Just yesterday I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is Muslim, where-in he told me how frightened his children are by the results of the election.

He has WAY more in common with you, my Nazarene or conservative Christian friend, than you seem to know. In every sense that would be evident to the casual observer, his beliefs are identical to yours.
  • Work ethic. (I’ve never seen better).
  • He never touches alcohol.
  • He’s against Homosexuality and abortion. (On this, he has more in common with you than do I.)
  • He is passionate about a strong national defense and a wise foreign policy.
  • He exudes loyalty to our company, devotion to this country, devotion to God and to his family.
If you left the divinity of Christ out of the conversation, there would be nothing to mark the two of you as different in any way, except, in all likelihood, that he puts you to shame on in all of the above things, by comparison.

He related to me, in our conversation, how terribly frightened his children are. He told me how he calmed his children, and reminded them that this country belongs to all of us. He pointed out the shops in the urban area where they live; how > ½ are owned by non-whites. He pointed to their white friends, who love them would surely remain their friends. He reminded them that, while there are surely people who would want them to leave, they are a tiny sliver of bad apples, and that there are far more people who love them and would want them to stay.

He also told me that he is hopeful. He doesn’t think Trump is a racist in any KKK, lynching sort of way. It will be fine.

He told me that every community he's ever lived in is full of really good people. Just a little wary of you at first. It’s just a normal, human way to act. Once you become truly a part of your community, people start to see you as a person rather than a brown person or a Muslim. Your qualities are known.

He told me that he’s hopeful. Now that Republicans have no excuses, maybe they will start to govern, and maybe some things will actually get done that I (Joe) was hoping for under Obama, since much of Trump’s message actually overlaps with what is wanted by progressives like Bernie and Senator Warren.

He agreed with me that Trump is hard to read because he will say pretty much anything, and has said pretty much everything at one time or another. But, our best guess is that he is less conservative in every meaningful way than is Hillary, and that it will be interesting to watch whether he delegates the real work of being president to Pence (in which case our government is very conservative, indeed), or forms a new kind of coalition, and makes deals with congress to get some actual help for working stiffs.

My Muslim friend is a good man, and he is a wise man. I’m fortunate to have discussed this with him.

In a larger way, I'm a far better person for having gotten out of my rural isolation chamber, and for having met so many wonderful people who are so very different from me, and yet who are so very much the same.

I've been extraordinarily fortunate.

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