The sign on the hospital window where I work encourages people to keep calm and embrace diversity. Easier said than done in these times. With polarization, things are often one way or the other. In the “debate” I had over whether I agreed with the notion that boys are socialized not to cry, I felt that the majority of people in the discussion were determined to somehow force me to watch a video about this notion despite the fact I declared I had never experienced it and did not view crying as either male or a female experience. It is simply a human experience.
It’s actually possible I might have watched the video for a school assignment years ago. But I wasn’t going to say that. I pointed out at some point in the discussion that people express their emotions in a wide variety of ways. It seemed strange that a group should focus so narrowly on one type of expression, which is crying. Or Speaker of the House John Boehner is famous for crying in public. Which is not the main problem with him. I think of the tears that federal workers shed after being laid off because the Republicans like Boehner refused to agree on a federal budget before the end of the fiscal year, resulting in a partial government shut down.
I don’t care that he could be setting an example that it’s okay to cry in public. I’d rather have someone competent like Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. But we have a divided government, which will remain that way through at least until November 2014.
Meanwhile I will remain calm and let the wisdom of embracing diversity wash over me. At the same time I am pleased that Cory Booker won a special election in New Jersey to fill the remainder of Frank Lautenberg‘s Senate term. Booker kept his sexual preference out of the race and focused on the issues instead. He represents a new type of diversity as the son of African American corporate executives. He is as far away from the 60s civil rights movement as one could expect. And yet he, too is part of the diaspora.
The other part of tonight’s wisdom is the idea of remaining calm. I spoke with a friend who had an important meeting recently and reminded her that the most important thing was to remain calm. Which, of course, she was not. The meeting ended badly. And I talked with her again, reminding her to remain calm. It’s easier said than done but I have found it to be advantageous in tense situations. It is far better than losing one’s cool completely, speaking in nonsense and then having to explain what happened later. Be diverse while keeping your cool, friends.