Sunday, April 11, 2010
I was listening to a White House spokesperson being interviewed about how they really feel about Karzai and the Afghan situation. Do we really believe him to be an ally? The spokesperson used a number of diplomatic weasel words, one of which I had never heard before. He said the situation in Afghanistan was "contiguous."
So I Googled it, and could only find it in context of statements about Quantum physics. At first I had trouble making any sense of the definitions, but it gradually dawned on me they were talking about multiple realities. He was telling the interviewer that there is more than one reality in Afghanistan, and that made a great deal of sense to me. Contiguous was exactly the right word. English is like that -- it has a precise word for nearly every situation. (If not, we just rip off the nearest foreign one that fits.)
I understand multiple realities. I'm a Libra. We tend to see all sides of everything at the same time. There is virtually no situation that is not contiguous to a Libra. This makes decision-making a nightmare, but I have no problem understanding that light can simultaneously be a particle and a wave. I have no problem seeing that there are many realities in Afghanistan. I do wish it were possible to just pick one and stick to it, but that's not how it works.
I think the failure to understand that the situation in the U.S. is also contiguous may be at the heart of much of the nearly violent political upheaval we are experiencing. We are a huge country with many points of view and many realities. When we try to force our views as the only reality on others whose views may be very different from our own, we run into a mess. We are not a melting pot, we are an multicultural tossed salad. We have textures and colors and flavors from all over the map, and that's what makes us great. It also livens up the dinner plate.
Now if we could just accept and embrace the broad variety of realities that this country represents, maybe people would all get along and we would finally have shalom bayit in this big, unruly, contiguous family. Please?
photo credit: Google