When I was a small boy in Catholic Sunday school we were taught to welcome those who “See the light.”
We even had a little song we’d sing with a refrain that ended “Enter. Rejoice and come in.” I always pictured a big room with punch and cookies – for after all I was only seven at the time.
Now I know that the nuns were talking about Jesus – but that song and “seeing the light” stuck with me through much more. It helped shape my understanding and acceptance of culture, science, art and music.
I came to realize you can see the light about a great many things. I remember in seventh grade pre-algebra class when the light came on and I finally understood factoring polynomials. I joined the light when I began to understand the comedy of George Carlin and Richard Pryor – and when I embraced both Star Trek and Star Wars – while still thoroughly enjoying Isaac Asimov.
I was late to some of this. I was a young nerd and trained as a classic pianist so I didn’t really accept the Rolling Stones, The Who or anyone in rock n’ roll (other than the Beatles) until much later. No one ever judged me for being late to the party. They just welcomed me in – and I gladly accepted it.
Over the years we’ve become much more judgmental as a culture. Our politics are extremely divisive. People sit in their smugness on the right screaming at those on the left and people on the left sit in their smugness and scream at those on the right. When there is some agreement found it is scoffed at or ridiculed with such vitriol it makes me wonder if any of the so-called Christians have any Christianity in them at all.
So, only an idiot cheers for the president to fail, but it is only a fool who doesn’t recognize his many failures in his first six months in office. To state the first part of that sentence angers the left – and to state the second part really hacks off the Trump supporters. Yet I think both are factual – in my humble and sort-of-informed opinion. I am open for enlightenment.
When Sean Spicer finally threw in the towel and said “enough” with President Trump I immediately understood his frustration – in fact I’ve watched his frustration play out on the stage of the White House press room for the last six months. I haven’t always agreed – and in fact disagreed with much of what was said and told to me from the podium – but I sensed his discomfort as well. Don’t let anyone know I have empathy for others – it will ruin my reputation.
Tuesday on the South Lawn as we watched the president leave for a rally in Youngstown, Ohio – Sean and I took a picture together. I posted it and said while I disagreed with the guy on many things I respected some of what he did in the press room. He is responsible for bringing in voices from outside the beltway – via Skype – to the briefings. He called on a wide variety of people – not just the first row of reporters – during his briefings. And he opened the briefings to include members of the cabinet who could actually explain the policies of the president they were implementing. All of those things are rather revolutionary.
Immediately I lost about 400 Twitter followers. I’d only gained them when I got into a row with Sarah Sanders in an exchange that went viral. I can’t say that I’ll miss the people I didn’t know all that much – but I saw the light with some of their comments.
They knew better than me what was really going on in the White House. Spicer was the devil and should be condemned to Hell and I was going there with him for embracing him and “being an apologist for a Hitler wannabe.” Spicer remains a professional acquaintance and while I do not know every detail of his life – I feel comfortable in stating that he has no “wannabe” desires to be Hitler.
I think he’d had enough. I can understand the feeling. I felt the same way when I had a viral moment with Sarah Sanders.
Many comments condemning my photo with Spicer said he sold his soul. He was late to the game and didn’t deserve any consideration. “How can he sleep with himself at night,” someone mused. “He must be so ashamed.”
Let those among us without sins cast the first stone. I for one am a notorious sinner and refuse to pick up even a pebble.
I suspect many of us are the same way. I don’t condemn anyone for their leanings – right or left. I will never end a friendship because of differences of political opinion. But we do need to find some common ground – and right quick.
The unraveling of the fabric of our republic begins when our intolerance blinds us to our common interests.
I’ve seen the light. Those on the far left and the far right are blinded by the light. Wrapped up like a deuce – another runner in the night.
Apologies to Bruce Springsteen. He’s the poet and I am but an ink-stained wretch of the Fourth Estate.