Peace over Pancakes
By Delana Lands
and D.B. Stearns
Staff Writer & Author of Harmonic Wars
The course of the election has brought many issues floating up to the top and lots of emotions. Fear and hate are the most prevalent of the emotions and they only serve to divide further the citizens of this great nation and what it stands for: Freedom.
We are free to believe in a number of things and issues however we do not have the freedom to force our opinions on each other. Getting offended by the expression of those freedoms does not give anyone the right to tell another to ‘keep it to yourself’ as we have seen so many times in the past. I hope you stay with me until the end of this article, as it is a story of dear old friends showing love, compassion and respect for each other in spite of the hate, fear and distrust that threatened to separate us but failed.
We just witnessed a long and hard-fought election and the results shocked many. In fact, it brought many to tears and anguish. The confusion associated with the sound rejection of their candidate and set of values brought great fear to many. I saw such hate boiling over from so many people around the nation. Riots began in several cities. Long time friends ended friendships over candidates chosen as the promise of real change became a stark reality for many. Now we must ask the question: Where is all the hate coming from and why?
Over the course of the last eight years, I had the unfortunate experience of seeing people that I know and love say horribly racist things that they had never said before. It was so easy to get swept up in the media-filled hate agenda that the real message of the candidates was hard to find in this election. Separating fear and hate from what the candidates professed to be their platform was a daunting task but in the end, I made my choice and voted for Trump. He was not the candidate I wanted but he was better than the alternative: a continuation of corruption. Having worked in the United States of America’s government for nearly 30 years, I have seen first-hand the corruption and waste that continued to grow and I wanted to see a real change—not just a promise. I was not convinced that Trump would make a difference but I was certain that none of the alternatives would. I am an independent conservative and not foolish enough to believe that the answer to our problems rests in the hand of either of the two primary parties. I believe they ARE the problem and not the solution.
So how do we stop the endless cycle of have that the media continues to push? We have to reach out and remind each other why we were friends in the first place and that we must fight together for our country and the freedoms promised in our constitution. We have a responsibility to bring everyone to the finish line and celebrate our differences rather than pridefully boast about winning an election.
I remember all too well the feelings conservatives felt when Obama took office and said, “Elections have consequences. I won! I have a mandate from the people because the people have spoken.” I felt the hopelessness that my conservative values would never be considered in the most recent administration and that President Barack Obama would only represent liberal concepts in a bid to squash conservative values every step of the way.
President Obama delivered just as I had feared but I never saw any conservatives blocking highways in protest. I never saw any riots or hate filled speeches calling for the deaths of a particular demographic unless it was from far-left wing liberals. For conservatives, the fear was real and tangible as followers of Al Sharpton protested in the streets chanting to“Kill Whitey.” Protests turned violent countless times by organizations like Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter.
Even so I decided that I was not going to be a part of that. This time MUST be different. It is time to end the hate and pull together, celebrating our differences instead of bashing each other. We can not exclude each other from the needed changes to our government. Everyone must come together and realize that everyone needs to make some sacrifices or this great nation will cease to exist. We cannot continue to afford the current path. Our country didn’t get here overnight and it will take a long time to fix what greedy politicians and corporations have destroyed over the past several decades. Rather than gloat over the results like I saw so many do in the past, I decided to take a different approach.
I saw several posts from old school friends that touched me. I could sense that their pain was just as real as mine was when Obama won. They were hurt by the results of the election and their fear was tangible. They were confused, scared and in pain, because they could not fathom why this had come to pass. I reached out and offered to meet two of my friends for coffee and to chat. The idea was not to try and convince or persuade but just to get an understanding between old friends.
Here is what Delana Lands wrote about our meeting:
“After hearing the results of our recent Presidential election, I was hit hard with a deep grief and shock. It was incredibly painful. What made matters worse was when I read the harsh remarks from some very old and dear friends—even family. The turmoil and confusion was just too much to put aside. So, I reached out to those old friends on Facebook as well as another friend I saw was coming back home for Thanksgiving. I wanted to talk and understand how we could be seeing things so completely differently. What unfolded was a testament to true friends.
“One Instant Message on Facebook ended up with 3 of us saying we’d welcome the opportunity to get together. I offered up a coffee shop as a place to meet … then intuition suggested IHOP. Intuition knew better. IHOP was eagerly agreed to – especially the thought of pancakes! I was relieved to know that we would meet in just a few days and, honestly, the thought of old friends sitting down one night at IHOP pouring syrup over our pancakes was soothing to my soul.
“We agreed there would be no pushing one position or agenda onto the others. We would come together as friends and listen to one another. That night, three old friends, 2 of which had known each other since kindergarten, sat down over pancakes and talked… and listened. Pain, confusion, fear, and hope were very much present at the table. But what I felt, even more, was the sincere respect, appreciation, and care of old friends. Friends I ran the halls with in Jr. High and High School. Friends I share memories with… long before we were all grown up and voting one way or the other. It was these friends and our honest, open and several-hours-long conversation over seriously comforting pancakes that helped me find some peace. For, in the end, I heard us all wanting the same thing – to feel safe and thrive.
“I am forever grateful for that night and those friends.”
Peace Over Pancakes! Here we saw a Liberal, a Centrist and a Conservative sit down and talk respectfully to each other. In the end, I believe we discovered that what we all wanted was not as far off as the media and politicians would have us believe. We can do so much if we would sit and listen, rather than try to shove our agendas and desires down each others throats. There are good ideas on all sides that deserve a chance to be realized. The answers to our problems will never come to fruition unless we start talking respectfully to each other. We proved that it could be done and we found common ground on many political issues. Now it is time for our elected officials to do the same.
We as citizens have a responsibility to let our elected officials know what we expect of them. Let us take the opportunity to tell them we need to heal and work together to end this cycle of hate. We cannot allow the exclusion of anyone but neither can we let the gridlock continue. We must make concessions and once again learn the art of ‘Consensus’ over the idea of majority rules. When we come up with solutions that everyone can live with, then we all win. We may not like the decisions made but we should all be able to live with the solutions.
Delana finished her message with the following:
“P.S. One of the Facebook posts was from my high school sweetheart. He too was willing to talk and we did so over the course of 3 conversations on the phone … leaving it with a promise to get together over pancakes when he is back in town.”
May you all take the opportunity to reach out for your own “Peace Over Pancakes” meetings. End the hate and together, let us heal this nation as we move forward with respect, love and peace for each other.