I did something remarkable today. I went to a luncheon and saw people I haven’t seen for over a year. On the way there I thought, I am going to see people in their human form. Who have we been this entire time. Are we really human when our interactions are all electronic based.
I read a study once that explained road rage. When you see another car on the road you see another car on the road. You do not see a person. The person driving the car is a non-entity and it is much easier to get angry at a car than it is a person. Our lives have been flipped and tossed upside-down and twisted about. Normal left the building long ago.
Think about all the things over the last year plus that we have had a chance to have an opinion on; masks, vaccines, covid itself, systemic racism, black lives matter, racial justice, gun rights, voter suppression, election integrity, treason, unemployment, voting rights, workers rights, and much much more.
Through all of this we never had to have a conversation in person. People could read our thoughts and only our thoughts. Sure, social media has a picture of us or something that represents us but it isn’t us. When I read that people I considered friends didn’t believe in the vaccine or masks or that black lives matter or that my right to vote mattered I got angry. I disconnected from many.
I heard a quote from Gandhi recently that was something like forgiveness is a privilege of the strong. If you’re in a position of power in a society which in America means white you can forgive all the people you want. I talked to someone today, anti-vaxxer, anti-masker, anti-voting rights, and anti-who-knows-what-else. I talked to them parent to parent about our children. Do I forgive them their thoughts, their opinions?
I, honestly, do not know. I do not know how to forget this past year. I so want to go back to being human but at the same time we spent the last year with people showing us who they really are. Should we stop listening to satisfy our own need for human interaction? Before last year I had no idea that this person, I considered a friend, would be offended by the act of my voting in the 2020 election. I had no idea that they were pro-spreading disease unchecked. I had no idea they were against the idea of looking out for each other. I had no idea they could fall for QAnon BS. I had so little idea about so many people.
I want to go back to being friends or something like that. I want to have conversations in passing and discuss the development of our toddlers, but how can I forget that if given the opportunity this person would be happy to see me dead and America turned into a fascist hellscape.
Can we forgive and not forget? Honestly, I think of it as the Christian thing to do and my turning the other cheek might rankle them more than anything. Let them keep their hatred in their hearts and I will shower them with love and mercy. We will see what happens as we crawl from our burrows and return to the world. We will see, if now they will listen, and think before they speak.