Sometimes, I really do not know when to keep my mouth shut. A real failing on my part. Although, this failing can lead to some interesting interpersonal exchanges.
The other night, many people were tweeting about the Republican Convention. I was really not paying that much attention; but, there is a lovely, rather conservative lady who retweeted a remark by another lovely, rather conservative lady. And the remark was this: "angry, shouting progressive women make me so sad. Such utter discontentment with life. Thankful for my call as a wife and mother."
Upon reading this remark, my eyes kind of crossed and my brow kind of furrowed and I kind of choked on my chocolate chips. (Yeah. I love to eat chocolate chips straight out of the bag. Who needs the damn cookie, anyway?) This is where I should have continued eating chocolate chips and kept my big mouth shut, but I didn't. So I replied, "I am a Republican. I am a wife and mom. And this statement seems very unfair and unhelpful." I then proceeded to put the whole thing out of my mind, while watching "Bones" with my daughter. Don't you just LOVE "Bones"?
At bedtime, though, I looked again at my twitter feed, and I saw that the contented wife and mother graced me with a reply. Two replies, actually. "are you shouting and angry? That's what I'm getting at. Tired of angry women spouting off about everything being 'fair'." -and- "Honestly I don't care if you're a republican. Are you happy with the call on your life or are you angry about it? That's my beef."
My first reaction was to have hurt feelings that she didn't care about our common bond as fellow members of the GOP. So mean and insensitive of her, right? It reminded me of when my son, a rather conservative young fellow, told me that he generally found liberal people to be kinder and more sensitive to him in his times of need than conservative people. But, then I said to myself, "Get over yourself. This is not about you." I then replied in approximately the following words: "I am happy. And I have many progressive women friends who are happy, too." And I went to bed. After a few minutes, though, I decided that this was a rather fruitless exchange and I wanted to end it. So, I got up and deleted my reply. A chicken or a peacemaker? You decide.
Anyway, I spent the next couple of days feeling a sort of soul pain over this little exchange. But, I couldn't quite put my finger on the exact reason for that soul pain.
In comes Peggy Noonan. I really like Peggy Noonan. She is a Catholic, a conservative (but, a reasonable one), a woman, a mom, and she has a CAREER. I think she is divorced, too. Really breaking down those stereotypes and crossing those ideological lines. And she says this in her column in Saturday's edition of the WSJ: "A convention is supposed to be full of humans and hustle and bustle, and PROTESTERS, TOO [emphasis mine], because this is America and protesters are part of the crazy zest of a great party convening."
Note: In my opinion, both parties have their own kind of greatness. Because, as Peggy said, "This is America."
Upon reading Peggy's words, I had one of those "Ah-Hah" moments. It is not the place of one woman to tell another woman how to feel. It is not the place of one woman to tell another woman to just shut up and stop complaining and be content. Human psyches and human hearts and human souls do not work that way. Our government recognizes this. It is called Free Speech. It is in the Constitution. If you wish, you get to be angry and you get to protest about your anger publicly. Yes, there are reasonable rules to follow when protesting, so that everybody stays safe and so that everybody's civil rights are safeguarded. But, we should be happy when we see protesters, whether we agree with them or not. We should be grateful that they are out there and not having their asses hauled off to prison by the authorities of a repressive regime (as we so often see in certain other countries). And, when people are angry, maybe it's also a good idea to try to understand that anger and have some compassion for it. Understanding and compassion may lead to fruitful dialogue, and perhaps even to some actual solutions to some of the problems in our society.
So, let's hear it for those protesters -- on whichever side of the fence they may be.