Affairs of state, frame of mind | AspenTimes.com

Affairs of state, frame of mind

Britta Gustafson
Then Again

If you have ever had an argument with a 2-year-old you learn quickly that you can’t argue with crazy. Anyone who is willing to whirl-kick their way around the kitchen while screaming that there is too much milk flavor in the milk cannot be reasoned with, so why try.

Finding humor in parenting helps make it both fun and entertaining. Now, while also practicing deep breathing, I’ve come to accept the fact that more often then not I will be confronted, daily, with unforeseeable events that I cannot control and questions that I cannot answer. I am finally settling into a new perspective on all aspects of social living.

Where campaigns are concerned, if I had one nugget of political wisdom to pass down to the next generations it would be to please try to take the anger out of your enthusiasm. We can be passionate, but not angry.

If political rhetoric and split ideologies make your blood boil, try to ratchet it down and dissect your emotions, find that inner sense of humor and humble yourself. We are so much more productive when we remove our emotional reactions from our decision-making, and it seems like the only way to do this is to acknowledge our feelings. We can feel what we feel and then try to formulate our responses from logic and the choices at hand.

“Ideally, our small town proximity encourages us to remain kind, honest and aboveboard in all our dealings with each other. This November, and as the election draws near, it might be helpful to keep our close ties in mind, and a sense of humor at heart. For at the end of the day, it is good to also remember that the morning after the election dawns too.”

Back to the whirl-kicking 2-year-old, there are times when even the strongest sense of humor can not override the exhaustion that floods our systems when we try to have a rational, civil and productive conversation with the irrational, whether they be a tantrum throwing 2-year-old or a presidential candidate.

Like many, I have been glued to the media coverage of the national campaigns as they unfold; clocking more news hours then I care to admit. And, although I am grateful for my new found sense of humor, what was for a time humorous now feels simply ominous.

So I am appreciative for the fact that when I begin to turn my thoughts back home to local politics I can feel my optimism reignited and a sense of promise for our future returns.

Snowmass Village is a small town and, like it or not, we live in very close social proximity. Here six degrees of social separation does not apply, in fact it is rarely more than two. I may not know you, but someone I know does, through work, school, church, sports, recreation, whatever.

We are all neighbors, and it helps to recognize that fact and acknowledge our community ties, specifically now as we head into this highly political season. When we remember our close ties and our common experiences, we are more likely to present our best selves and least likely to undervalue the opinion of others. In turn our elected officials are more likely to be mindful of why they are serving and of whom they serve.

We do not all agree, just like an extended family with in-laws and step-parents. I may disagree with an elected official’s record or position, or a neighbor’s rants or raves; but what is essential is that we endeavor to identify with how we are connected and acknowledge our common goals and experiences. By the same token, it often helps to recognize where we differ and why and stay focused on those aspects of our disagreement, not on the personal matters at hand.

Living within a close-knit community helps, and in many ways forces us to be considerate of one another’s positive attributes and unique skills. After all, we have the opportunity to see so many facets of each other. I see fellow board members at meetings; but I also see them in their social groups, up on the mountain and out playing with their children. And it helps our understanding of one another.

Joyce Dennys in “News from the Home Front 1942-1945” wrote, “Living in a small town … is like living in a large family of rather uncongenial relations. Sometimes it’s fun, and sometimes it’s perfectly awful, but it’s always good for you. People in large towns are like only-children.”

Ideally, our small town proximity encourages us to remain kind, honest and aboveboard in all our dealings with each other.

This November, and as the election draws near, it might be helpful to keep our close ties in mind and a sense of humor at heart. For at the end of the day, it is good to also remember that the morning after the election dawns too.

Let’s exchange a piece of my mind for a little peace of mind, after all, if we always agree what will we talk about? Britta Gustafson appreciates an open mind; share yours and email her at brittag@ymail.com.


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