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On election night in Berkeley, I fantasize moving to a Red State,
somewhere that needs me as a kind of leavening.
I’ll make friends over coffee, disarm the enemy, become trusted;
think aloud, give events my spin, one by one convert
the best of them, and they would teach others, and others would—
But.

Even in Berkeley, I can’t persuade my dearest friend to reconsider her ill-informed opposition to nuclear energy, our main point of difference. Unreconciled, we table the topic: breath eases, pulse slows, belly softens.

My family in Texas and S. C. have agreed: no politics—no more bullish arguments, heat behind our eyes, stomachs cramping as we fight to change one another’s stubborn minds. None of us ever anything but right.
Hate hovers, a vulture seeking carrion.

I choose to live among like-minded people. Safe to smile at strangers. We may disagree on Organic versus GMO’s, charter versus public schools, the death penalty. But we expect to agree on the presidency and who should command the senate. This much we have in common.

Meanwhile, on sidewalks in Red towns and counties, it is likewise safe to smile at strangers. Neighbors may disagree on infrastructure, taxes, school hours, even climate change. But most expect to agree on the presidency and who should command the senate. This much they have in common.

On election night, I wonder if any one of them fantasizes about moving to California—as a sort of leavening. Make converts, save the country. Part of me hopes they’ll stay in their enclaves with like-minded people, as I do.

Another part lies awake. Sad. Angry. A little afraid. So many people who don’t know how wrong they are, who can’t be persuaded to change their stubborn minds. I sense them in the night, awake like me. Sad. Angry. A little afraid.
Hate hovers.

This much we have in common.

©Catharine Lucas, 2017

Catharine Lucas, a Professor of English, emerita, at San Francisco State University, lives in Berkeley, California. Her poems currently appear in Cloudbank 9, Reunion Journal (Dallas Review), Women in the Arts Quarterly, Zone 3, Alembic, Burning Word, Willow Review, Blue Earth Review, Black Warrior, among others.(www.catharinelucas.com)

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2 Responses to “Like-Minded People by Catharine Lucas”

  1. Alison McDonald Says:

    A beautifully written piece. Thank you

  2. carlaspeak Says:

    “Hate hovers, a vulture seeking carrion” probably capture more about our world’s current patch. Is it better to stay amongst those with similar thoughts? Certainly now.

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