i don’t subscribe to ‘inspirational daily’ but somehow this showed up in my email feed on thursday, a particularly good day to read the wise words of eleanor roosevelt. an activist, the first lady regularly published her musings and views. her accomplishments as a diplomat were far-reaching; her life story difficult and profoundly inspiring. and she was wise. her words remind me of sue bender’s words (from ‘plain and simple journal‘) “to reconcile our seeming opposites, to see them as both, not one or the other, is our constant challenge.”
what would either of these wise women say about our current climate, i wonder?
would eleanor roosevelt pine for the fine-tuned, thoughtful, intelligent discussions of her lifetime? would she abhor the fact-less, jarringly aggressive re-telling of stories, of narrative, all-dressed-up and skewed to one side? would she shudder to hear of attempts to decimate human rights, to place limits, to undermine? i can’t imagine that she would consider the display of indecency, of avenging and putrid name-calling ‘great-mindedness’. i fear she would, instead, point a wagging finger at the players and implore them to be wide awake, to be thinking, to be discussing idea and possibility and wholeheartedly move forward with conscience.
i wonder, does sue bender, in her middle 80s now, feel a sense of deep disappointment in a society that does not attempt to reconcile seeming opposites, does not see them as both, does not cross the aisle but instead builds walls of hateful rhetoric, looks for the worst in each other, advances the ugly? what would her kind soul say about the divisiveness, poisoning all in its rampant siege, a pandemic reaching unsuspecting venues, its toxic arrows out of the quiver and readied. how would she parse out the arguments, the lack of concern for the victimized, the harassment of those on the other side than the leadership?
goodness knows, i suspect both of these amazing women, living in different generations, would be saddened by this climate. they might weep in absolute dismay. or, they might just whisper into the wind, to whomever might listen, “great minds discuss ideas. average minds discuss events. small minds discuss people.”