"Equality cannot be achieved without politics." I paraphrase my mother's sentiment. A largely logical response to my previous entry's decree, that unity must come through seeing a shared humanity.

The question of prayer as a response to shootings has always stretched me. Most progressives I have known have said prayer is fine but we have to put actions behind our prayers. I always want to be a progressive voice for prayer. My friends say, since I am an activist, it is okay. Prayer can be more powerful than action, I declare. But friends rarely agree.

There is no need for consensus on the subject. Maybe it would be nice if we all had my view, but that is not my aim.

Equality is vital to unity. That's true. Speaking truth needs to be done. There is a balance to everything. I listen to NPR this morning and hear stories about things like a decision to see if non-citizens can cast ballots. In my ideologies I would be very very glad to have undocumented immigrants voting as soon as possible. They live here and work here and make capitalism functional. May these people be empowered to make social change, I pray, listening to NPR. May the non-citizens vote and change the world in other means too. I have known non-citizens, and I see them as the best of people.

I guess my stopping point for talk of equality is only when it grows into "politics" or divisive argument when people stop being people and start being primary colors like red, blue, or just skin pigment and nothing more.

To humanize should be the aim through the entire human exchange. I have changed people's beliefs before, but only through my own humility. When my inner turmoil on a subject or for an issue rises above my compassion, I might angrily try to explain my views, but I am not any longer meeting eyes.

A couple weeks ago, I did something that threw me into the deepest depression I remember. I was talking with my Mom about Flaccavento and how I thought he might benefit from appealing to anti-Casino voters in Bristol. So I went to the Bristol Virginia City Council meeting fed up about the casino, but with limited time to plan my speech, and in an impulse, I decided to talk to the room about my beliefs. But I just embarrassed myself, trying to act more assured than I was. I should have spoken from a point of humility and it would have gone fine.

But I thought I had something to teach. And I was loud and unproductive. I went home and for a couple weeks I did not want to look in the public sphere. I didn't want to be seen, and it had been recorded by media, and I felt exposed, and barely wanted to go grocery shopping. I for the first time in my memory, thought the most terrible thought of borderline suicidal ideation. For five minutes, or so, I thought it would be one way to end the grief.

Then, somehow, I pulled myself out of it.

It can be so easy to do the wrong thing, whether screaming protest against a casino in your home or killing your light.

It can be so much harder to do the right thing, to talk openly about your fears and concerns, to walk the steeper hill of confessional telling your dark thoughts to a friend.

Please take care of yourself first.

I will.

Please don't go off the deep end if you are not a sure swimmer. Please be gentle with yourself. Listen softly to the voice of intention saying what is right.