i heart pike county (pa)

Well, it came and went and there was some, okay more than some, damage done.
I have to be honest, I’m not used to this kind of thing.
I’m not talking the Hurricane, or the snow storm… I’m talking local politics.

Everyone who knows me knows I’m a Democrat. On a few occasions I have stepped out of my party comfort zone. On those occasions that I supported a few friends, I did so because I not only like(d) them as human beings, but I felt they were qualified, good strong choices. The first time around I didn’t do it so openly. I hardly told anyone I was supporting the person. But I did, and I was proud.

Quiet and proud.

This election season, I came out and supported Pam Lutfy. I didn’t know Pam very well, but I got to know her. We had coffee, we had chats, we talked about the issues that were important to us; as women, as Pike residents. We didn’t see eye to eye on everything. But I felt (as I still do) that her voice – that of a woman – was needed and vital. Through dialogue and numerous conversations, I got to know her history, and she got to know mine, and we became good friends. Girl friends.

I used to think the definition of “good friend” meant that all parties -people – agreed, and when you didn’t agree, well, you just turned the other way, or walked away. It’s easier to walk away. You leave intact. But I learned something profound this election year. I learned that good friends, those who argue, those who disagree, those who fight for something they believe in, those who stand their ground even in the face of differences are the best kind of friends because you learn something new. You grow. You become a better person.

Let me share with you what I learned these past few months:

I learned that standing up for what you believe – whether someone agrees with you or not – is what makes for a great role model.

I learned that a community is like a quilt, made up of many different threads and colors and pieces, and the best communities embrace the diversity and the uniqueness of each thread to create something gorgeous and stunning.

I learned that there are tons of women in my community – Pike County – that are true angels, and Goddesses. They are strong and mighty and vital and have opinions and make choices that yes, are different than mine, but what we share and want for our community is (nearly) exactly the same. For our Community – Pike County – to prosper, and grow, and for it to be a safe, loving haven for our children, our women, our boys and men, and our elders. These women are now my friends and for that I am forever grateful.

I learned that nasty and cruel and unkind can and does last much, much longer than election years, and that we mustn’t be unkind to each other. We mustn’t. It serves absolutely no purpose at all.

I learned that Sean Strub, who I have always loved, and admired, is a man of his word. He often takes a very unpopular stand for the people and issues he deeply believes in. He has proven to me over and over and over again that standing for what and who you believe in takes guts. Oh my goodness, does it take guts. And he does so with everything to lose. I have known Sean a long time. And what I know of him is that many, many people are alive today because of his courage. He created an entire world – through both his publications and activism – where shame is no longer worn on a daily basis. It is no longer an accessory. He turned a health epidemic and human crisis into a fighting, worthy invaluable issue that has changed and transformed millions and millions of people’s lives.

It’s not so much that he took a different side in this campaign, it’s that he stood up for what and who he believed in and believes in. Standing up for something is much much different than standing on the same side of something. Standing up requires thought. It requires time and effort. It requires weighing the good and the bad, the losses and gains and mostly, mostly, it requires being willing to be humiliated and disregarded when the chips don’t fall in your favor.

I learned that that’s the kind of human being I want to be when I grow up. To stand up even if it’s unpopular.
And who doesn’t want someone like that on their side?
Don’t we all want someone catching us if and when we fall?

I learned that elections bring out the very best and the very worst in us. It can turn friends into enemies, it can afford acquaintances the opportunity to know & respect each other more, it can turn a civil disagreement into a holy war, and it can make you shy away from speaking up and standing up. It can also unite folks, not because we believe in the exact same thing, but because we wish and hope for better.

And what I truly deeply learned is that I live in a community that needs desperately to be nurtured, loved, coddled, held, treated with dignity and respect. That our differences, our diversity, are the very foundation of dialogues. We are – each one of us – the community that we live in, and we all – each one of us – want and need to be thought of as invaluable.

Our community is filled with great, passionate, diverse, unique, determined vital human beings.
Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Left, Right, Gay, Straight, Men, Women … boys and girls.

I learned that I love my community.

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2 Responses to “i heart pike county (pa)”

  1. kristine

    lucky them and lucky you….amazing to have a community that embraces you and one you feel is your home….

  2. Madgew

    I hope your candidate won. I love to hear about community activism. There is not enough of it. Can’t complain if you are not in the fight. Most people just watch on the sidelines. You got in their with your ideas and hopefully, everyone will just get along with your leaders.

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