It's been interesting, as I cruise through social media, to see that some of the people who oppose me on GMOs share my dismay about Trump, while some who support my stance on biotech crops voted for Trump.
One big difference, though, is that none of the Trump supporters attacked or shunned me for my views, unlike those in the anti-GMO camp.
Still, it reminded me again that beliefs — ideologies — serve primarily to create and enforce separation. Almost always there is some area of agreement, of like-mindedness, even among those with bitterly opposing views.
It's so critical in this deeply divided time to start finding that common ground while rejecting extremism on either end of the political spectrum. The middle needs to find and use its voice.
I speak as someone weary from three years of pitched battle with the anti-GMO extremists, as personified by Councilman Gary Hooser. The picture he chose in conceding defeat spoke volumes:
Bill 2491 was truly Gary's moment in the sun. But it was also, as a friend noted, his undoing. Though he spent more money than any other Council candidate in Kauai history — nearly $10 for every vote he got — he still wasn't able to convince a majority that he was truly working for the public good. I think Kauai voters were sick and tired of the “no compromise” stance that he represents.
Now we have to avoid staking out the same ground on the national level, as personified by KKK marches celebrating Trump, and anti-Trump protestors burning stuff as they carry signs that read “love trumps hate.”
I had lunch with a friend (and Clinton supporter) yesterday who said she wanted to understand the views of those who voted for Trump. She wanted to know more about the disaffection and despair, the alienation and anger, that led to their choice.
“I'm not ready to write off everyone who voted for Trump as a racist, sexist, zenophobic, crazy person,” she said.
Nor am I.
In working with farmers and ranchers, I've come to understand their point of view about the regulations and unfunded mandates that are strangling them. I've seen the overreach of the federal government in programs like WOTUS, the spinelessness of politicians swayed by the squeaky wheels. I've become acutely aware that “social activists” are often driven by the same quest for money and power as the corporatists.
At the same time, when I hear Trump dismissing climate change, while saying “just give me clean, pure air,” I wonder if he understands how the Clean Air Act helped accomplish that.
So yes, we do need to reassess the overreaching role of government in our lives. God knows our political system needs some serious renovation. But we don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, either.
And that becomes a real concern when dealing with extremist views on any side of the political spectrum.
I truly believe, as I wrote on Wednesday, that this is the end of the world as we know it. I'm not talking about an apocolypse, though, but a profound shift in many of the programs and policies that have shaped our lives over the past half-century.
It's quite likely that some of these changes will be painful and harmful and ugly. But some may be good, even worthwhile. That's why I have no interest in joining the disempowering clench of fear that has so many in its grip. I don't want to wallow in the speculations of what might be.
I just want to watch, pay attention, and be ready to respond to what actually comes forth.
Or as Leonard Cohen, who died last night, would sing:
The birds they sang
at the break of day
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up
and they're going to hear from me.