Resisting Change

Change you can believe in. That was President Barack Obama's promise to the nation.

I don't want my America to change, she wrote. Those may not be the exact words she used - I can't find the quote right now - but it's close enough. They were written at the end of a Facebook comment by a woman who lives further to the right along the spectrum of American politics than I do - much further.

I don't blame her one bit. Everybody hates change. I used to complain that seat belts made it too hard to reach the ash tray. Thank goodness I quit smoking and going out to bars before you couldn't smoke in bars anymore. I'm a recycling fanatic these days, but I can remember when the very idea of separating garbage was just plain icky.

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Ghosts of the Heart by Barbara Stoner

Ghosts of the Heart

by Barbara Stoner

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Change doesn't have to be imposed to be threatening. Years ago, when I was one of the radical women of Door County, I had a conversation with a farm wife - a woman married to a farmer - who was worried that she would have to change her name. She had read in the papers about married women retaining their birth names, and she didn't want to do that. But if everybody else did it ...

I don't want my America to change either. Of course, that's because I'm grateful that it has already changed somewhat in ways of which I approve and with any luck at all will continue to do so. What I don't want America to do is change back.

The changes that we, whoever we are, want to make in our communities are not changes that we will have to make. They are changes we have already made. What we want is for everyone else to make them with us. And I can understand why they might not want to.

Doesn't mean we should stop trying. But we might just have to change our approach.