Dear Bernie,

Dear Bernie,

I sometimes ask myself, “What would Bernie do?” when I’m puzzling over a problem involving interaction with my fellow humans. I know you would always treat people fairly. I know you would be above all the jostling and ego stuff that sometimes gets in my way when I’m trying to be a good human. I know there are things that just don’t matter to you – and that SHOULDN’T matter to me – and I’m trying my best to emulate you. You know what’s important. You keep your priorities straight. You are above the nonsense that I struggle with too much of the time. And so I’m turning to you now because I’d like your wisdom and advice.

Back in 2016 (and man, that seems a long time ago now) I was really hoping you’d win the Democratic nomination, and go on to become President. You were my favorite presidential candidate EVER. But when your workers would call my home they never wanted to talk with me – they always wanted to talk to my twenty-something son. This happened time and time again. “Hello? We’re calling from the Bernie Sanders campaign and we’d like to talk to Andrew.”

I so wanted to let them know that I was a Bernie supporter, too, but they never seemed interested in what I had to say. I was brushed aside – and I know it was because of my age and gender. Everyone assumed I was a Hillary Clinton supporter. This was frustrating. Exasperating. It hurt. Finally –  probably the fifth or sixth time your campaign people called asking for my son – I blurted out, “EVERYone in this house is for Bernie – my husband, myself, my son…”

And I remember the happy surprise on the other end of the line, “Really?! Everyone?! YOU, TOO?!!” 

Sheesh.

When we went to the local district caucus the room was packed full of baby boomers like myself – and only a handful of them were for Hillary Clinton. The room was hot and stuffy with excitement, and one of my fellow boomers yelled out, “Feel the Bern!” It was awesome.

So here’s the thing: The millennials – the generation whose turn it is to lead the charge now and get our nation through its current mess – are considering starting their own party. And I guess I don’t blame them – they must be frustrated, as I have been through the years, by the unwieldy political parties we currently have.  But… how do I help the millennials see that there are a lot of boomers like me who are actually on their side – wanting what they want – wanting to help? When I march and stand in front of the courthouse these days I see as many senior citizens as youngsters participating – and that makes me happy.

Everything has become a competition, Bernie. I was at the GLBT Pride festival – happy to be celebrating with our GLBT community – and saw someone was holding a sign that said, “Gay people do it better.” I saw a little girl wearing a tee-shirt that read: “Anything boys can do, girls can do better.” And it made me feel disappointed in humanity. I don’t think it should be a matter of somebody being “better” or doing things “better” – it should be a matter of people being accepted for who they are – of celebrating our differences and the perspective we each have to offer to the community. Differences in religion and non-religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation – and age, too – shouldn’t be viewed as a reason to compete, but as a means to seeing the world in a new way. In my opinion.

Dividing progressives by generation, gender, religion, or whatever, isn’t going to fix our country, Bernie. Progressives have to come together if they want to change what’s wrong.

So what would you do? How would you bring progressives together? What advice can you give us?

Sincerely,

Karen Molenaar Terrell

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Robin’s Egg

He comes towards me on the trail
– a big, brawny man with a bald head 
and tattoos on his arms. I turn away 
to take photos of the ferns on the forest
floor and when I turn back he’s passed me.
I glance back at the same moment he glances
back at me. He uses his walking stick
to point to a place on the path near me.
I turn in the direction he’s pointing –
not sure what he wants me to see –
and find myself looking at the remnants
of a tiny, fragile blue egg. A new nestling
has pecked open her shell. “Robin’s egg,”
the big man rumbles in his deep bass voice,
a sweet smile on his face. I smile back at him.
“It’s beautiful,” I say. “Yes, it is,” he agrees.
And he turns and continues down the trail.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Suggestions for talking with…

I wonder if I might make a few suggestions for conversing with others about religion on a discussion board? I have had some experience with this, and I’d like to share some of what I’ve observed and learned.

The most important thing to know, I think, is that if you ever encounter me on a discussion forum I am always, always right. And if you disagree with me about this you are wrong.

Once we have established that basic and most fundamental of all facts, we can move on to other stuff:

Might I suggest that we never, ever, ever presume to know what other people think, feel, and believe just because they identify themselves as atheist, theist, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, pagan, Christian Scientist, or as a member of any other ideology.
Generalizations, stereotypes, and lumping whole groups of people together as one “type” are not helpful when trying to understand someone else’s perspective.
Don’t tell other people what they think. Let them tell you.
Although pomposity cracks me up, not everyone shares the same reaction as me to puffed-up know-it-allness. Humility is a beautiful thing. Let’s be willing to laugh at our own nonsense before we laugh at someone else’s.
Remember that we’re all human – we all have our own flaws and foibles – none of us is perfect here. Might I suggest that we correct our own flaws before we start trying to correct someone else’s?
Give each other grace.
Listen.
More specifically…

Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist

We should remember that the world is wide; that there are a thousand million different human wills, opinions, ambitions, tastes, and loves; that each person has a different history, constitution, culture, character, from all the rest; that human life is the work, the play, the ceaseless action and reaction upon each other of these different atoms. Then, we should go forth into life with the smallest expectations, but with the largest patience; with a keen relish for and appreciation of everything beautiful, great, and good, but with a temper so genial that the friction of the world shall not wear upon our sensibilities…
– Mary Baker Eddy (Miscellaneous Writings)

I wonder if I might make a few suggestions for conversing with others about religion on a discussion board?   I have had some experience with this, and I’d like to share some of what I’ve observed and learned.

The…

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Open-Minded Cat

Kitty doesn’t care if I’m male or female,
overweight, underweight, old, young,
Democrat, Republican, black, white,
red, or blue.
Kitty responds to what’s in my heart
and the kindness I do.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“The weapons of bigotry, ignorance, envy, fall before an honest heart.” 
– Mary Baker Eddy

Conversation about Christian Science on a Discussion Board

“…no, you will not hear a CSist knocking at your door. 🙂 Frankly, it took me a long time before I felt comfortable ‘admitting’ I was a CSist or talking about my way of life in an open and honest way. I know there is a lot of… not sure what the word is… misinformation? bias? prejudice?… about CS, and I’m not always eager to enter discussions about CS… sometimes – if I sense that nobody is really interested in having their minds relieved of their prejudices – I choose not to enter those discussions at all. But it felt to me like there were people on this thread who were genuine and sincere in their questions about CS. It is good to hear your voice again, my friend…”
S
ource: Conversation about Christian Science on a Discussion Board

When Hatred Becomes Yesterday’s News

Any politician who plans to use marriage equality as her or his main focus will need to find another issue because – haleleujah, brothers and sisters! – marriage equality is now officially old news. I look forward to that happy day when bigotry of EVERY type is old news. We’re seeing the signs – the flags that symbolize racial bigotry are quietly being removed from their poles ( http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/surprise-move-alabama-confederate-battle-flag-comes-down ) – and people of every race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, and non-religion are coming together to speak out for equality and peace.

“What is going to happen, Dave?”
“Something wonderful.”
2001: A Space Odyssey

The weapons of bigotry, ignorance, envy, fall before an honest heart.
– 
Mary Baker Eddy

marriage equality

 

We Shall Overcome, performed by Joan Baez –