12/11/2019

Who is in?

My wife turned me on to the podcast Dolly Parton’s America. It’s a wonderful look at the country singer’s career, as well as numerous aspects of American — as well as international — life. There are a lot of wonderful stories told throughout the podcast (and truth be told, I’m only about 2/3 of the way through the series), but one thing stood out in the episode I just listened to, Dollitics.

I’m not going to get the quote exactly right, but this is a pretty close paraphrase. While exploring Dolly’s reasons for not engaging in political questions (spurred by her refusal to say anything, one way or another about Donald Trump), Jad Abumrad, the host, lands on an interesting observation. It goes something like this:

Dolly has a philosophy that is core to who she is — cast no one out. It’s a spiritual tenet that drives everything she does, and it’s something that can help explain her broad appeal.

There are certanily things that she can be criticized for regarding her decision to not make a statement (if children in cages isn’t a reason to, what is?), but the underlying philosophy is powerful.

Personally, I’m not sure that speaking out and choosing to not cast anyone aside can’t live side by side. Indeed, I believe they can.

I’d even argue that until we get to that place — where we can hold someone to account, while refusing to hate them, refusing to turn into the very thing we are pushing against — we will just spin in this world of division.

Until we are able to answer the above question — who is in? — by naming everyone, we are doomed to continue to spin. And spin. And spin.


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