Double Dutch, Fear and Political Debates

(Photo Credit: Staten Island Advance)

(Photo Credit: Staten Island Advance)

Yesterday I witnessed some interestingly heated conversation around world issues. I continue to witness debates rise up over political and social issues all around me. I wonder whether or not I am to speak into that conversation. I have a past of thinking to highly of myself and fear that my desire to speak up is based on feeling like my opinion must be so important or matters so much more than some others. Ridiculous. So I err on the side of silence. However, I more and more am finding it hard to stay quiet. Should I stay quiet? Should I jump in the verbal arena at all?

I feel like a school kid waiting for the right moment, timing out the swing of the ropes as the girls chant anticipating the jumpers entrance into the double dutch fun. I remember when I wanted to try and join the girls but found myself bobbing and bobbing almost endlessly never feeling like there was a “good moment” to go for it. I occasionally just went and undoubtedly found the hard plastic rope whipping me in the head or wrapping around my ankle. But this is no game of double dutch.

This is a conversation in which words truly matter. But do mine? Do I even know enough on the subject to speak? How much information is truly enough? So I stand, watch, and keep bobbing…waiting…unsure.

Yet as the conversations intensify, so does my desire to speak! As I listen to friends battling it out, I want to step into the fray to at least calm the tension. I know that it is mainly fear that keeps me here, but could it be partially wisdom? Sometimes being silent is the best place for me, because it allows me to focus on listening, which is hard for someone in love with their voice. Thankfully I have an awesome wife who, though we differ on almost every debatable topic, encourages us to converse on the issues. I want that with so many of you these days. I’d like to start conversation, but don’t want to incense tension and riotous behavior amongst friends. I feel confident that my views are not shared by many, as I look into the political scene and don’t see any party that really represents my views. I see a way too liberal left and an often hypocritical right, and then I feel like I am brought back to that awkward place in my childhood. That place where I was too “white” for my black friends, who struggled with my speech that was not overly comfortable with urban slang and self-made grammar. Then I was clearly too black for my white friends. The reality was that any black was too white for many of their families, as I lived in an almost all white neighborhood, that quickly embraced white flight when more black families followed.  Where to fit in? It almost makes me want to run for some political office, simply so I would have someone in politics that I felt actually represented me.

However, today is not that day that I jump the rope. But soon, I might get tired of bobbing and waiting, and get past the fear of whipping my head one more time.




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