Love in the time of politics

Are we psychologically or even spiritually capable of transcending our deepest, staunchest political conflicts? Or are we so stuck in our comfy zones that we’re doomed to re-play the problems of the past? Invariably, when I get lost in this dark corner of thought, I turn to one place my life where my limits have been most expanded: my intimate relationships.

Love — it’s the great leavening agent of our psychology, helping us double our efforts to grow our heart and to see the world through new eyes. But, does love work in politics?

Consider these provocations:

Taken from the NY Times article “Fractured Lands”, photo by Paolo Pellegrin
  1. Fractured Lands, a stunning jaw-dropping, heart-wrenching exposé on the developments across the Middle East from the Arab Spring to the present. It just came out in the NYTimes and my wife and I read it over the course of two days when our children slept (N.B. it’s long!). In it you meet 6 people from across the region struggling in unfathomable ways to survive and make sense of their lives which are being torn apart by war. There’s little light in this desert world, little hope, but there is deep humanity and a clear call to those of us who are far from such devastation to care for those caught with no good options.
  2. Love in the time of politics, an extended interview I produced that recently aired on WDRT. I had the pleasure of sitting with Cole and Dina, friends whom I admire greatly and whose relationship — he from the US and she from Egypt — spans some of the most challenging divisions of our time.

Reading the first piece while editing and producing the second piece hit me with a one-two punch: Fractured Lands was a roundhouse to the temple, blurring my vision and orientation towards anything resembling a hopeful future. Then Love in the Time of Politics was an upper-cut to the gut; buckling my knees and reminding me of the hard heart-work required to make a lasting relationship (or political movement).

If you find time to read and listen, I’d love to hear from you.