Last night I broke my cardinal rule.
I picked a fight with a total stranger on Facebook.
It made me cry all night and all morning. It took me all the way until this afternoon to gather my wits and apologize publicly, which I did.
Yes, the impenetrable Dr. Bird has a heart and cries…a lot. She also has the grace and wisdom to know when she is being combative.
In order to process this I called all of my posse. I needed wisdom from my best girls.
My conversation with my friend Alison went something like this:
Me: I was really mean to someone on FB and then several women were really mean back. A: People are so frightened they cannot see, these are dark times, people don’t respond with facts, they respond with emotion. Me: But when I was a lobbyist people would respond to my facts. A: No they didn’t, you tapped into their emotion and then followed it up with facts. Me: No, I tapped into my cleavage, which is ample and amazing, then tapped into their emotion and then followed it up with facts. A & Me: Uproarious laughter.
I told my friends that I cannot live in a world where men who rape young girls are hailed as heroes. #RoyMoore I told my friends that I cannot believe that this tax bill might pass and decimate our economy. #GOPTaxBill I told my friends that I wish people would have believed me when I predicted that birth control would come under attack. #HandsOffMyBC I told my friends that I am sad about the loss of such glorious and beautiful national monuments. #BearsEarsMonument #GrandStaircaseEscalanteMonument
It is as if people have been given the freedom to let their assholes come out.
Here are the conclusions of the day:
We don’t get to whine, we must take action.
This is not permanent.
We can disagree on the policy path forward, we don’t have to hate each other. (Thanks Sarah from Pantsuit Politics)
Often we seek connection with the people who validate what we already think. The revolution is in thoughtful, kind connection with people outside of our circle. (Thanks Amy for the greatest lunch date in recent memory)
To produce the results that we want to see, we must share what we can with whomever has the need. Not everyone has the same needs as me but that doesn’t mean they don’t have need.
What I know for sure is that simple acts of love equal thoughtful surprises. By owning up to my own personal missteps, my hope is that others that I interacted with last night think twice before they say something snarky or rude to a total stranger…that just creates conflict.
Our nation cannot afford such missteps if we are going to move forward as a democracy.
With a big grateful heart, Dr. Melissa Bird
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