Updated: Jan 29, 2020
On Monday, I did my usual quick perusal of the morning newspaper, skimmed over stories about the latest in Trump’s apparent descent into madness, er, rather, the run-up to impeachment. But he looks like he’s going mad. Madder?
Anyway. I’ve had to work at hardening myself against bad news every single day or else I would be in tears all the time. Lots of us feel this way. I’m usually successful, even this week as Minneapolis gears up for a visit from Trump. And Pence. Oh boy.
And then I read a story about elephants.
Maybe you saw that story. It was a New York Times piece which began like this:
Six wild elephants fell over a treacherous waterfall in Thailand and died after one of the herd, a 3-year-old, was swept away by the river and the others tried to save it… https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/06/world/asia/elephants-die-thailand.html
The story talked about the distraught surviving elephants trumpeting their sorrow, how elephants have close family ties, how the fences that were in place where the elephants went over the falls were not enough to save them. And I couldn’t stop crying for those magnificent creatures who are so loyal to their families, who grieve for their losses, and who show more willingness to do the right thing than our own president who lets children languish in border camps.
I guess I was crying about more than the elephants. It builds up, this huge grief and disappointment in how human beings treat each other like burdens or barriers rather than fellow travelers on this planet. It builds up, this meanness that permeates public discourse. It builds up, this incessant badgering of those who try to stand by facts instead of making up stories. And all of us are going over metaphorical waterfalls as we are tossed into some great rushing American divide in which those who are all about themselves and their own money are up against those who are about something more.
The elephants know better. They choose to at least try to save their young and each other. They choose to remain united.
And later this week, when the Trump rally happens at the Target Center in Minneapolis, I will choose to unite with all those who plan to show up outside the Target Center, demanding that we get back to the business of caring for people, telling the truth, and doing better. We will create our own current, rushing through the streets.