Soundtrack in my head: The Moody Blues, “The Voice”
A housemate of mine has decided to start a weekly “documentary night” at the co-op house in an effort to get housemates together and enjoy some good video documentaries.
Tonight we watched “The Times of Harvey Milk,” a documentary about the first elected openly gay politician in the U.S. I had not known the story about what had happened, since I was only ten or eleven at the time and the only thing I was following in the newspaper at that age was the local sports teams. The thing that I found gripping about the documentary was how unafraid Harvey Milk was in speaking openly about what he believed in, and yet how, at the same time, he was clearly an effective politician and communicator. That may sound cliché, but I think all of us struggle with that. Our top politicians make choices every day between what is politically expedient and what they believe to be right in their heart of hearts.
I’ve come to realize this year that there is another layer to all this—the fact that it is easy to bury–and forget–what we believe in our heart of hearts because we are frightened by the implications of those beliefs. I realize that it is quite possible to fool ourselves into believing in something we honestly don’t believe in. This can happen because the contrast between what we see and what we believe can sometimes be overwhelming. We numb ourselves because we feel we have no other choice.
But sometimes we realize that we have no choice but to face the pain. In doing so, the truth often comes out. I can think of other times in my life that I should have walked into the pain and faced the consequences of the reality that I was trying to bury. As I get older, the more I realize that burying that reality does us no good, and on the other side of the pain is sanity and peace, if only we would strive for it…