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Building community in troubled times, a cup of coffee, a cookie and celebrating the beauty of humanity

Craig Zelizer

November 8, 2016

It has been a brutal and often disgusting political campaign. Whatever the result of this election (I certainly hope Clinton wins) there will still be huge divisions in this country. I can only hope that as a country that we can find a way forward towards progressive politics that puts people and humanity first. There really is no other choice, if we want to have our children have a better future. I do have friends who want Trump to win and we have certainly enjoyed our conversations and have managed to keep some respect for each other, while also secretly thinking each side must be delusional.

I did spend two hours today in front of our polling booth with a fundraising for our local Parent Teacher Association, for one of the most amazing schools in the world (our neighborhood elementary school). We had an an incredible spread of bake goods, coffee and school spirit. What I especially enjoyed were two things. First to see the amazing diversity of people coming to vote, from everyone background imaginable, arriving in cars, ubers, taxis, by foot, in wheelchairs, of all ages. Second was to invite all regardless of political affiliation to join in a cup of coffee, a sweet or just a chat. We were providing apolitical opportunity to snack and support the school for all. And while of course I hoped secretly people would vote for Hilary (as the bake space was politically neutral) it was wonderful just so observe and celebrate the humanity of all.

There is something magical about the spirit of community public interactions can provide and inviting all people passing by to share in a cup of coffee (of course we also appreciated donations to support the PTA and school activities).

Whatever happens going forward, I certainly hope we can find more of this spirit in our country and the world. To find common spaces to interact, to understand, to differ, to work for justice and hopefully create a better community, country and world for all.

It will certainly be a long-hard struggle, I've no illusions about the challenges facing the US and the world, the incredible open hatred towards many groups that has been unleashed in a way that I couldn't have imagine we would see in the 21st century, the strong resentment that many see towards governing across party lines.

Our family took action by voting for the candidate we think will best work towards finding a more positive common ground. It was also magical to invite my son into the pooling both and talk about the choices we face. I don't think by any means an election is going to make things much better, but at least with Clinton I've some hope that there will be strong attempts to foster a more inclusive and just society, rather than going towards endless hate, and fighting over the meager scraps of what is left at the end.

Our system is clearly in trouble, and at least for today, I do feel some hope from the offer of coffee to all, and invite you to join me.

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