By Sarah Trumpp
We live in a world defined by binaries, some we’re not even consciously aware of. We have political binaries that pit us against each other. We have gender binaries that tell us who we should be, how we should act, what we deserve based on a genetic dice roll that determines our chromosomal line-up. We have racial binaries, age binaries, body type binaries, religious binaries, it goes on and on. There are so many chances to sneer at the “other side” that we don’t really even have a chance to figure out what “our side” truly is.
Because of this constant fighting among ourselves, we elect people who play on the binaries. Republican officials tell their followers that democrats are all baby-killing socialists. Democrat officials tell their followers that republicans are all gun-toting rednecks. We are inundated with the reasons we’re supposed to hate each other instead of finding ways to love each other.
If we love each other, we want our neighbors to have access to health care. If we love each other, we want our neighbors to have enough food to eat. If we love each other, we want our neighbors to feel safe enough to follow their spiritual path, to feel safe enough to marry the person they love. If we love each other, binaries don’t matter.
I just got home Wednesday evening from a 2400-mile road trip across the country, moving my dad from Las Vegas to Fillmore. I am an avid people-watcher, and, as you can imagine, there was a lot of time to do that over six days on the road.
The one thing I really noticed, though, was that people are generally kind. No matter where you go, blue state or red, rural or urban, people are quick to smile, quick to laugh, quick to help a stranger. The day shift worker at the convenience store by my dad’s apartment in Vegas remembered me from one encounter in July just because I was nice (I guess the hair probably helps!)
Think about that for a minute. 70,000 people live in that zip code. Of course, they don’t all visit that particular gas station, but she sees a lot of faces in a day. Mine stood out because it was smiling.
The only way to get through this political hellscape we find ourselves enmeshed in is through love, empathy, and kindness. No more us versus them. There is no us. There is no them. We are all just out here trying to live our lives, trying to wring some joy out of this increasingly-dreary world. We need to stop making it so hard for ourselves by othering each other. Live from your heart. Dream from your heart. VOTE from your heart.
Sarah Trumpp is an artist, yogi, and professional bookworm, and gatherer of sparkly and rusty things. Sarah dreams of a world where the only thing that matters is how deeply we love each other.