Wisdom Road Day #40: My Young Nominee For Queen of the World

Home/Uncategorized/Wisdom Road Day #40: My Young Nominee For Queen of the World

Wisdom Road Day #40: My Young Nominee For Queen of the World

I had multiple people say to me, ‘I have never voted for a Democrat in my life. You will be the first one I vote for’.

The young redhead in a funky multi-colored jacket that looked like it might have been sewn for a theater wardrobe greeted me at the door of the equally funky Red Rooster Coffee Shop in downtown Aberdeen, and within 45 seconds she had also greeted the baristas by name, ordered coffee, and convinced another customer to join her neighborhood canvassing team before the upcoming midterm elections.  In her mid-twenties, Emily Meier has already interned for state legislators in the capital and qualified for the state ballot herself.  Admittedly a bit ADHD, ideas, opinions, solutions, hope, optimism, and pragmatism all bubble out of her like an eager Artesian spring.  If we made Emily Queen of the World, no one would be 100% happy, 70% of us would be happier than we are now, and all of us would be a lot better off.

This is one of my longer blog posts from Wisdom Road because I just can’t seem to see where any of these quotes from Emily are not important.

“I grew up in Aberdeen. In  High School, I was on the debate team, and my schedule by sophomore and junior year was nuts. I’d get up at 6:30. Go to school at 7:30. Go to debate until like 6:30, and then I’d go work at Target until 9:45. Wash, rinse, repeat until Friday, when I’d go to a debate tournament from 9am to 11pm. Repeat on Saturday.”

“South Dakota has the largest amount of our top graduates of both high school and our regional universities that leave the state post-graduation. A constant topic of political candidates is our brain drain, and yet it still happens!”

“We had racism here, for sure.  Some of my classmates thought I was a bitch because when they would say things like ‘those f*****g drunk natives’, I’d be like, ‘Why do you feel the need to say ‘native’ there? Why couldn’t you just say drunk person?’ I think it has gotten a lot better over the decades, but we have a long way to go. When Mike Brown died in Ferguson, people that I graduated high school with were posting, ‘White power, Black lives don’t matter, Mike Brown should have died’, things like that. “

“I initially went to a college in Iowa. It was shocking to me to go from one extreme of what I felt was very shallow thinking and contemplation about political, moral and ethical concepts in a conservative-leaning place like Aberdeen, to just the opposite. The kids at college were from Chicago, New York, the Bay Area, and I found just a different version of the same shallowness of thought with regards to people who are different than you. They talked about rural people, my people, my family, people I love, that I knew to be good people, in the same shallow way, just because they voted Republican, just because they were different.”

“We all have these bubbles and these ideas about the people who are outside of our bubble. It’s just human nature to live in a bubble  and to assume that the people outside of your bubble are not able to come in even though, person to person, there’s really not that much difference between any of us.  I understand why we create those bubbles. It is segregating away from people you don’t agree with because you just feel uncomfortable.”

“It is natural for people to hunker down into their beliefs when we bring even more voices onto the table. There are more women, Native people, Black and Brown people voting and legislating than there were in the 1960’s. We have all of these different viewpoints that we are having to grapple with. They are slowly gaining traction, and we are listening to them and hearing them for the first time. Before, we really only had to reconcile predominantly white male opinions and experiences. It takes a long time to come to understand someone. We haven’t had the time to understand experiences that are different from ours, and come to a place where we can communicate effectively. We haven’t learned how to talk to each other yet.”

“I think it is so deeply harmful to our psyche that we experience other people on our phone and not in person. A lot of what we do on our phone is not reconnection, and it is not deepening our interpersonal real life connections. We are constantly being bombarded with so much negativity. I think it’s just human nature to fixate on the bad. I don’t think humans are made to come into contact with the tragedy and the misery of the world and experience so intimately as we do with our phones.”

“I’m not saying that it’s good to go about being ignorant to the bad things that are happening in the world. But I think at some point, we must reconcile what good can we do, and consuming too much bad prevents the good we can do.  I’ll tell my best friends, ‘stop, stop; you will never fix the Rohingya genocide. There is no need to learn all the horrific details about that; focus on the good you can do with the people you know, and the spaces you are already in’. “

“I was supposed to be on the ballot this November. In May and June, it was discovered that I had some stage three precancerous cells and that I have an autoimmune disorder and an immune deficiency. I made the decision to withdraw, but I loved talking to people I disagree with and I had multiple people say to me, ‘I have never voted for a Democrat in my life. You will be the first one I vote for’. “

“I try my hardest to go into conversations with people I don’t agree with with a presumption of good faith. That helps a lot in making connections and loving people, despite disagreements, and despite thinking that maybe they do vote in a way that is harmful to people I love. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t change their mind, that they can’t be educated and that we can’t have a good conversation where we both learn from each other.”

“I hope we push the needle forward, that we build communities where we know each other and we love each other, that transcends race, that transcends gender and that transcends differences of ideology. I fear the disconnect, I fear people hating each other. The antithesis of my hope is my fear.” 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
By | 2022-10-13T16:20:55+00:00 October 13th, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

Leave A Comment

Moving the Rock: Seven Levers WE Can Press to Transform Education

#EdJourney: A Roadmap to the Future of Education