Who Shows Up

What’s for dinner and politics fill a chunk of our household conversation these days. My Facebook-loving teenager keeps me abreast of the social media world, while I’m in the world of Democracy Now.

As we hurtle towards this contentious presidency, I keep remembering Gandhi’s insistence that politics begins in the house, among the most intimate of relationships. I see that in the wider circle of my own world as well. At school meetings, who doesn’t show up is as important as who does, and tips the balance of those conversations in uneven ways.

As we head into these uncertain times – times that are bound to get even more dicey – I want my daughters to understand both their actions and non-actions make a difference and that passivity does not equal patience. More than anything else, I pose this as a challenge for myself. And to remind myself that even in the bleakest of times – personal or politics, or where the two mix – that we live in a world of laughter, too.

Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.

– Paulo Friere, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

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By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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