It's been almost two weeks since I've written anything here. I seem to find it impossible to write pithy prose about my small, magnificent, challenging life when we all watched in real-time as Hamas followers performed some of the most heinous acts on innocent humans the world has ever seen. Or maybe it's DT's numbers haven't dropped as more and more indications of what Americans will face if he is elected as the first dictator of the United States of America, which is the platform he is actually running on, have surfaced. Or could it be the map I saw of the increasing land on the coast of my beloved Maine that will be underwater shortly because I can't seem to walk away from oil and other harmful acts to my planet that has no American military to defend it? Why is that, by the way?
I have steered clear of the news or digging deep into it. I have avoided most conversations about it. I have cocooned into my world here, focused on my book launch in the new year and promising myself that tomorrow 10,000 steps walked will magically show up on my Apple Watch.
Then I was on a call with a client. She's been a client for a few years, and we are working on some of her collateral. She is an art representative and extremely successful at doing things like selling art collections. We'll call her Jennifer because that's her real name. We had been trying to connect for a few weeks and kept missing each other.
She opened with, "I'm sorry I haven't gotten everything to you. I have been consumed by the attack on Israel, and the horrible things they did to women, on the streets in front of cameras. A friend of mine has an organization, and we are putting images on the sides of buildings, and today we put images on at the United Nations. I can't understand why more women aren't standing up against these atrocities."
I should say that while she has been a client for a few years, we have never met. I think that is why I could say what I said.
"Are you putting images up of the innocent Palestinian women and children, the thousands of them, on the buildings too? Or just the Israelis?"
And, so it went.
Her comments included, "we have a right to defend ourselves." "America has killed more than Israel." "We are surrounded by Arab countries that hate us."
And my responses, "what Hamas has done is unforgivable. It doesn't mean we kill innocent women and children to try and find a few of them in the process." "No one is for Hamas. We are for humanity. For this to stop on both sides."
But it wasn't angry. It was thoughtful, and I felt we both heard each other, and she was confirming and so was I. Maybe it was because we aren't friends, but two women who are caring and smart and with no other agenda than our certainty in our rightness. I am certain I'm right. So is she. And if we both respect and think the other is not a bad human, shouldn't we be grateful to have that exchange?
I was grateful, and it's been with me ever since yesterday when it happened. Today when I was in the car waiting for someone, it hit me.
Anyone who knows me personally knows I love television and film. Or some of it. I am a reviewer of both on Screen Thoughts. Take a look at our podcasts, which I've been doing for close to ten years, for a female perspective on what's on the screen. I believe that the easiest, least painful way to change hearts and minds is through telling stories on the screen.
And, of course, there is Aaron Sorkin, the greatest screenwriter of my time. No, no, that's not a question.
And, The West Wing, one of the best series of all time and with so many lessons around the political times in which we live.
There is an episode, Proportional Response, that mirrors this moment in history. Not as profound, but the lesson is there.
President Bartlett is new to the Oval Office, and he's not someone who embraces military responses or even the military strength of this great nation. Then his personal military doctor, who has just had his first child, heads to the Middle East where his plane is shot down by the bad guys.
He's in a rage. A rage I tell you. Beside himself. And, lo and behold, he wants to bring vengeance upon those who shot the plane down. I beg you to watch two short clips.
The first is in the war room when the Pentagon's head of the Joint Chiefs tries to explain a proportional response as Bartlett's brilliant dialog challenges the absurdity of it all. “What is the virtue of a proportional response? Why is it good?”
Then, we see at the end of the night, Bartlett's best friend and Chief of Staff calls him out on the responsibility we have as the most powerful nation on earth to not use that power for vengeance - no matter what.
And, I will sleep better tonight. And, I'm not afraid to start to stand up for what I think as I've become over the past few months. Gird your loins, my friends. The next twelve months? Well, they aren't going to be for the faint of heart.
Lastly, thanks, Jennifer, for your kindness and passion and commitment to your point of view.