Bridging the Divide



For over a year now, I’ve been trying to find ways to bridge the divide between the Trump voters in my life and me, trying to quell the anger I feel at the dismantling of much that I hold dear, and struggling with my concern about our country’s and our children’s futures with the new leadership. Try to talk, I told myself. A friend who’d attended the Miami Book Fair said that all the speakers from Chris Matthews to Donna Brazil urged communication with our opponents. My husband’s rabbi, actually, encouraged that, too, offering one approach: “try using these four words: ‘You may be right.’”

Today I heard a movie director characterize the period we’re going through as “the Terrible Twos.” We’re all tantruming out, popping off. He suggested that we never use the words “them” and “they,” but instead say “us.”

I’ve often talked about the barriers between the sighted and the blind, why they exist, and how to leap over them. More contact, more communication, more listening and learning. This seems so workable with regard to these groups. But to leapfrog the barriers with my Trump-Pence friends and family requires that I give up a longstanding policy—the keep it short and superficial formula I’ve mastered. Scrapping that scares me to the core, because the fire and fury that could result could break my heart. You see, unfortunately I love some of these opponents.


About Sally Hobart Alexander

Blinded at the age of twenty-six, I left California and elementary school teaching for life in Pittsburgh, Pa. There, I met my husband, got a Masters' degree in social work, had two kids, now 35 and 32, and became a writer. Surprisingly, the writing career led me full-circle to teaching, and I teach in Chatham University's M.F.A. program and lead two writing critique groups. Always, since the age of 26, I have traveled, not in the stereotypic darkness attributed to blindness, but a mist. My blog then, "traveling through the mist" will deal with issues in my culturally different life as a blind writer, teacher, speaker, and human being.
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