By Carmelene Melanie Siani
I made a mistake this morning.
I casually asked a person who I knew didn’t share my personal political opinions if they watched the inauguration yesterday. To me, it was just such a wonderful celebration that I wanted to share it with her. She bristled. Even over the phone, I could feel it.
“No. I didn’t watch the inauguration,” she said. “I had other things to do.”
I should have known better. I should have been more sensitive to her feelings. My first husband used to say, “It’s always a great game when your side wins.” I guess that’s true about inaugurations as well. To me it was a great inauguration… but what if it were the inauguration of a person I didn’t vote for? Would I think the same thing then? Would I be on the phone and just randomly say, “Hey, wasn’t that a great inauguration?”
Like so many people, I’ve heard Biden saying over and over words to the effect that we have to come together, that we have to be friendly—even to those who don’t feel the same way we do. That we cannot survive if we are divided.
I guess, in the back of my mind, I have always thought that he was talking to the other guy. Not to me!
I didn’t have to change anything. That other guy—that guy who voted opposite me—he’s the one who has to change. HE’S the one who has to come my way. HE’s the one who has to do the right thing and miraculously put all his personal beliefs and feelings aside.
Nope. In the back of my mind, when I listen to Biden, I don’t think that he’s talking to me. I think he’s talking to that other guy.
And then, I had that brief conversation on the phone with my friend this morning.
“Look,” she said, her voice a little nervous. “I don’t want to discuss politics. Let me just say that I’ll support my president no matter who he is.” But then, she added a kicker, “Unlike so many people did with the last president.”
And with that little statement, that simple little sentence, I got it. She was hurting. She was hurting and I, in my insensitivity, in my bravado because my team had won the game, blindly acted like it was a great game for her too.
But it wasn’t.
So now, Mr. President Biden, now, this morning, after my blunder on the telephone with my friend, I get what you mean when you say that each of us has to do what we can to bring our country together.
I get that you mean even me.
Editor: Dana Gornall
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