This started with a stray comment between us but the idea has only grown more insistent.
In response to the shootings in Tucson, Arizona,Â Ellen and I have been talking about what we could do to make manifest the idea that we want our Congresspeople to deal civilly with one another. To hear one another. To talk things out. To not do what will play on the news the loudest but to do what’s best for all of the American people the best they know how.
How could we personally help make that actually happen?
My uncle Bob Bennett of Utah, in his remarks to his colleagues on leaving the Senate last month, discussed the general philosophy of the Republican party vs the Democratic party re the role of government,Â and then pronounced, “Both sides are right.”
This is a man who had been rated one of the most conservative members of the Senate (and with whom I often disagreed politically).Â But he’d also had real-life experience: as a homeowner trying not to lose his house at one point. As a former business owner who knew that for businesses to succeed, their workers had to have the peace of mind of knowing that they could have adequate medical care should something happen to them or their families.
He said, and I’m paraphrasing to the best of my memory, It’s the meeting in the middle to negotiate our differences that is where we do our best work. None of us is supposed to get everything all our way in any other part of life, and certainly not in politics where we are working with people with completely different life experiences.
So here’s what Ellen and I are hoping for.
Never mind, I’ll let her tell it, she says it better than I do.
“Here is what I think I’d like to do.
Invite any and all knitters who would like to join in to knit a hat (sizing information here) for their own congressional representative, whether Senate or House.Â Ask them to email me, perhaps send a photo or link to a Ravelry project, and let me know to whom a hat has been sent.Â I can track who is being covered (literally!) and if anyone wants to knit more than one hat, they can send them to me and I’ll handle mailing them to a rep who hasn’t received one yet.
I’d like to write a standard note to go with it, to which any knitter could add her own personal message.Â I’m also thinking how cool it would be to design a hat for it, but I am also telling myself to keep it manageable.Â (Her husband) suggested that the hats be purple, a blending of red and blue, but I told him I want them to be worn!
This doesn’t rule out hats for the victims, which is also a good idea and could be a use for some of the extra hats, though I still don’t know how to go about getting the names or how to deliver them.Â After thinking on it all week, though, what is really compelling me is to highlight the need for civil discourse even over things we disagree on.”
From me: I would plead that the hats be of a material you’d want to wear yourself. I want each recipient to feel they are being treated with the great respect we all mutually deserve.Â For whatever it’s worth, I can vouch for the fact that the Plymouth King George (how’s that for an ironic name!) baby alpaca/merino/cashmere blend on sale for four bucks a ball (for the moment, at least) will make an absolutely soft, warm cabled hat using two balls; I just knitted one. Three balls should I think get you two plain beanies.Â All in a day’s work.
I’m not trying to shill for DBNY, I’m just trying to convey the idea that it doesn’t have to be a lot of money for it to be something nice if you don’t have something ready in your stash. Support your local yarn store, too. However it works for you.
We want each individual to be glad they got one–and wouldn’t it be cool to have Congresspeople swapping around with each other to get just what they want? Let the cheerful negotiating begin!
I just ordered two more balls in, yes, Ellen’s husband, purple.
Can you just picture the photo-op we could all make happen? Knitters can change the world. We can set the tone. In wild color combinations or subdued: as the song says, We’ll give them something to talk about.
You in too?
(ed. to add: What should we call this campaign? So far I’ve come up with Talking Heads.)
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