Finding Common Ground

Riding the Washington, D.C. (USA), metro with my marching signs the day after the Women’s March, still feeling emboldened, I struck up a conversation with two self-identified Republican [the more conservative of the two major U.S. political parties] teenage girls who were checking out my sign that read “WOMEN: Like Men, Only Cheaper. Equal Work for Equal Pay!!”

One of them was white. The other (the more chatty one) was a child of Korean immigrants who seemed to have a genuine desire to understand me and gain perspective from our interaction.

She told me how she and her mother had gone as supporters to the Trump inauguration but also to visit the march outside the inauguration because they had been curious and wanted to see both sides. She was concerned about the violence that night. I pointed out that it was separate from the Women’s March and said, “Half a million people descended on D.C. the following day for the Women’s March, without one incidence of violence.” I said that this movement was organized by smart women who had lived and fought through the era of Civil Rights and Martin Luther King, and assured her, “We are in very good hands.” She listened as intently and openly to me as I had to her.

Then I listened to her conflicted feelings about liberalism versus conservatism and was able to eventually steer the conversation toward the topic of exploitation. I knew we’d have common ground there, and the topic almost never gets attention on either side of the mainstream U.S. political conversation, so I wanted to get her thinking on it.

She was quick to take the reins of this conversation and run with it, and we had a lovely exchange. Toward the end she seemed almost eager to hear whether there was a place for someone like her in a women’s march. I felt at that point how important it was not to let this young woman down [disappoint this young woman], no matter which political side she was on.

I can see even more now how crucial it is for us U.S. RCers to discharge our anger and grief about the early ways we were dominated and defeated, so we are not restimulated by people’s political stances in the present.

Lori Leifer

New York, New York, USA

Reprinted from the e-mail discussion list for RC Community members

(Present Time 187, April 2017)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00