Spirals, Doors, and Feelings

Have you ever noticed that every time you hold a door for someone who is more than four feet away? They always smile, look at you, look down and rush the open door avoiding any awkward human contact. Or when you stop in the car and wave someone across the street: smile, look down, and then run.

I do the same thing when someone holds the door open for me or when I cross the street. I do not want to make them wait. Which, is silly and insulting. I feel insulted when I am holding the door and others rush. Excuse me, but do you really think that my kindness and charm is so petty that I would not be willing to wait? I did offer. At the same time I feel bad that I caused them to rush.

Am I the only one thinks this way? That there is a slow downward spiraling trend towards bad feelings? The door opening recievee, (the walker? Wait… no.) feels bad that someone has taken the time to hold the door and must wait. The person holding the door feels bad for the one who ran. Both feel they did a good deed. The one holding the door knows they held the door. The runner feels they saved the door opener from having to wait longer. But for why?

Why cannot we, or I, graciously except the offer of an open door just as we are? Walking whatever speed we are at. Do we not believe they are gracious enough? They may have offered yet still are burdened? As though their lives are so poor that waiting a few minutes longer would mean a mental breakdown later that evening.

But it is the same thing most anything we are offered. When parched and given water we suffice with one glass when we could have four. When fed we eat a meager portion when we could eat the whole pig.

If you ask me a question for which I have a ten-minute energetic answer, I shorten and deprecate my own answer. I do not have faith in the other person’s patience. I do not want to be a burden. I am afraid that if I talk to much I will not be liked. Living through fear and belittling my own voice I am depriving them from an experience of life, listening. I am depriving both of us the relationship developed from experiencing me more fully. I sink myself into a deeper isolation.

I am not a hero when I do this, and even if I was I am not the Hulk. I am not endless in my patience and long suffering. I am human and need a friend to speak with, share with, to be free to talk for five hours strait with (I have done this when I was little). I will take the risk. If you ask I will answer, and if I wear your patience thin I learned more about you and we are both better off.

So I commend you, when someone opens the door for you do not rush. Walk at the same pace through, smile, and look up. Look them in the eye with all the time it takes you to get to the door. Make it a real connection, and say thank you.

Politics for Tuesday: Healthcare Debacle

Political Tuesday

                Healthcare. It used to be a swear word to conservative Republicans, and the defendable pride and joy of liberal democrats. Now no matter what side you are on it is an embarrassing mess. (Which I wish more politicians would vocalize. The Republicans should not be cheering the failure of the bill as much as they are, they should also be lamenting that our government would do anything this poorly. It’s embarrassing, even if you just mentioned the website).

                But the larger problem at hand at the moment is, to what extent do we hold our politicians responsible for doing a poor job, lying, or being ignorant. I am going to use Mr. President as an example, not in order to bash him by any means; in fact I hope to have an opinion that is understanding and kind so as to be an example to both political parties. I want to use him as an example because he has been in the media enough that most people know what has been going on (In fact I feel free to write this because both the liberal and conservative media have been upset at the handling of the healthcare law), and he is a singular example that everyone will know and can then hold congressman, senators, and local politicians to the same standard.

                Mr. President, as shown on both conservative and liberal media, have been pointing out inconsistencies in what was promised, and what has actually been delivered. There are three possible reasons for inconsistencies in what was said and what happens.

The first is that the politician lied. This is the easiest to jump to and proclaim when it is someone of the opposing party, however, if we want politicians to have integrity, we must also have the integrity to patiently give them the benefit of the doubt and treat them better than we think they are treating us.

                The second is that they were ignorant. Being ignorant is difficult to deal with as it is part of their job to be in the know. They are being paid to be professionals and know what is going on. Just like generals in the military must know what is going on in combat, if they don’t people die. If politicians do not know what is going on, then people suffer. However, they are only human so at times they cannot know everything. Furthermore, they could have bad advisors. To a great extent they are responsible for having good enough judge of character to pick good advisors.

                Thirdly is that something changed from when they made the promise. Most of the time when this happens I don’t give them much grace because they shouldn’t not have made a promise about a decision that they could not enforce themselves. Blaming other political leaders, the system, the voters, etc. is not an excuse. They know full well the obstacles in their way.

                So, Mr. President is either a liar, ignorant, or a foolish promise maker. Personally I believe he is the latter of the two. He should have read the bill and had the right advisors to know the vague areas that could be applied in various ways. He also should not have made a promise on how it would be enacted when that is not in his jurisdiction.

                How do we respond? We need to hold all of our elected officials to a higher standard. If they are ignorant or incapable we should call them on it. But we must also not be too harsh. We must leave room for dreamers and visionaries. Martin Luther King’s dream was not realized in his life time. But we should not fault him for pursuing something big. We must be able to recognize ignorance and abuse of a position and the attempt to dream big dreams and pursue them.