So, rather strange title but it’s drawn from a rather strange epiphany. The other night I watched the 1990 remake of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. It’s similar to the original in many ways – same cast of characters, same basic scenario, but it has some clear differences too. The point of this post isn’t to critique or compare the movies, it’s to share an odd revelation I had while watching it.
Ben and Harry, referred to in the title, are two of the characters hiding in a farmhouse. Ben is black and Harry is white; neither are locals. We know little about their backstories but judging books by covers, I’m guessing Harry is a middle class suburbanite while Ben might come from a more urban area (but I could be completely wrong). Regardless of their origins, both men share a trait – the need to be right and in charge. As I watched their battles for dominance; their inability to compromise and work together to defend themselves from zombies, it hit me that this is what American politics has become.
Both sides, whether it’s Republican/Democrat or Conservative/Liberal, have gotten to a point where there is no longer any true discussion of issues or compromise. It’s merely the dominant party forcing their will on the other. Everything seems to fall along party lines. Even at the street level, how many of us have stopped talking to or following friends because we disagree with their political views and we can’t discuss it calmly or rationally or simply agree to disagree? In the meantime the zombies are coming and we’ll get annihilated.
Well, I’ve decided I want to try NOT being part of the problem. I want to listen to others’ opinions even if I disagree with them (as long as they’re not trying to proselytize 🤪). How can I understand where they’re coming from if I don’t listen to what they believe and why. To get some guidance on this I pulled out my handy dandy Haunted House Tarot and asked “How can I be more open to the opinions of others and to compromise?”
I drew the 4 of Pentacles Rx, The World and the 2 of Pentacles
The 4 of Pentacles reversed seems to show with voodoo doll holding a pentacle. I think it’s reminding me that I don’t have all the answers and I can’t bend others to my will. I can’t force people to believe the way I believe. So, I need to accept other people’s opinions, viewpoints and perspectives. I don’t have to agree with them, or even listen to them in some cases, but I do need to acknowledge their right to have to have differing opinions from mine. In fact, it’s not my place to grant them that right – the Constitution does that. Maybe if I stop trying to be deaf, dumb and blindly stubborn about it, I can actually engage in a conversation rather than an argument.
The World holds the key; controls the house. In politics this refers to a very specific form of power. What it reminds me is that even if you hold the keys you still need the support and aid of others to maintain it. The woman stands in the doorway, holding the key – clearly in charge, but visible behind her is a group of people who helped her achieve control of the house. None of us exists in a vacuum; no one is an island. We can’t maintain a house without some help. Maybe it’s time we remembered that.
The 2 of Pentacles might be my favorite card in this reading. It reminds me there are two sides to a coin and at least two sides to every story. If we only focus on our differences and perceived wrongs, we will never find common ground. Without common ground how can our house maintain integrity? As Abraham Lincoln once stated “a house divided against itself cannot stand”. If we keep going at this rate it feels like we’ll shake apart from the pressure. We’ll become so busy battling for dominance and proving we were right that we lose sight of the zombies, the real problems and threats. I’d like to stop contributing to that trend.
So, hopefully I can learn from Ben’s and Harry’s mistakes and stop fighting so furiously to be “right” that I lose sight of what is actually important and in the best interests of all involved.