Friday, June 24, 2016

Politics, sort of

I shut away all the noise this morning: the phone, the tv  the computer. I went to bed last night hyped up and flabbergasted over the the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union, but I woke up feeling immeasurably sad.

So I sat on my couch and knit for an hour or so with only refrigerator hum and birdsong resonating through my house. One of the pieces I'm working on now is a tricky one for me, requiring my full attention, and I have been putting it off in favor of less demanding, more facile work. It was good, diving into this tricksy piece, being with it and learning it and figuring it out.

And I realized while I sat there that though I am not a particularly knowledgeable student of history, I am seeing my father's face this morning. I am seeing his face as I imagine it would be today (heartbroken, angry, confused) and am remembering the exuberance on that same face during the week we spent in Germany as the Brandenburg Gate opened, the Berlin Wall came down, and two worlds so long brutally divided opened up to each other again.

I've found myself talking a lot recently about my desire to have a circle of friends -- something I had in spades back in NY, and something I'm still struggling with here. My father was a natural at that -- at bringing people into his circle, at encouraging disparate connections and embracing overlapping friendships and spheres within his world. To him, building a shared history was everything. Breaking down walls and allowing exploration, unification, further understanding was everything. When the Wall came down, and families long kept apart were reunited, and secrets and truths began coming out, he exulted in all of it.

From my little corner of the world, yesterday's vote seems like the ending of an era of yearning for openness, of embracing the unknown, of fighting not be afraid of the other. So I find myself crying, unexpectedly and frustratedly, and wishing again for that face and the moral barometer it embodied. My heart goes out to the people of the U.K. -- to those who voted against this divisiveness and abandonment of a dream of unity, and to those who are so frightened of the world that they voted for it. May we in the US not go down this same path come November.