So you get this sort of ambivalent response – we’ll embrace the idea, but we will not embrace the reality.
– john a. powell, A Civil Conversation with Krista Tippet, On Being, March 10, 2015
This statement by john a. powell has been haunting me since I read it a week or so ago. My pal, Jna, directed me to this segment of On Being a bit before that; she may have thought I didn’t have enough to chew on in my contemplation of community. More likely she wanted to keep shaking me a bit. The statement seems to crystalize in just a handful or words something I keep coming back to again and again: liberals are ambivalent about our values. We embrace our values. We do not embrace their enactment.
We support the protest and the protester. We do not necessary support the disruption these make in our lives. We support those who are marginalized, might even live for a time on the margins with them. We maintain a grasp, even a tentative one, on the knob to the escape hatch.
An old analogy comes to mind. In a bacon and egg breakfast, the chicken has invested. The pig, however, is all in. In short, we may be chicken — or at least sufficiently ambivalent — to embrace the reality of social oppresion.
I remain haunted.