Sunday, March 6, 2011

I try to be kind.

As time goes on the project gets harder, not easier. The shootings have changed everything. My patience for the incivility grows thin.

And yet. The problem comes only from a few, only a few. A few angry people. The anger spills over, and fixates. In this room, the anger fixates on the podium.  On that microphone.  Anger seeks amplification. He who says it loudest makes it true. Why else would humans invent a means to amplify our voice if not for our desperate need to be heard?

I try to be kind, sitting in the white molded plastic chairs. I send the angry men kind thoughts. I respond to their anger by naming it, by pointing it out, by modeling civility. They are angry, I tell myself, at something else, something that has nothing to do with what's going on in this room. Their rage hides unsuccessfully behind a cool, disdainful machismo. These men maybe have good reason to be angry. Life might be dealing them a supremely rotten hand. A dying wife. A lousy childhood. A house in foreclosure. Their own mental illness. As Tucson's kindness maven Jeannette Mare would say: we cannot know what's going on in other people's lives. So I breathe, and I try to be kind.