She was by far the wisest person I’ve ever known. She was my best friend for forty years, and twenty years older than me. We were like sisters, but now and then I called her my ‘Jewish mother’ because, for all the life guidance she gave me, I felt closer to her than I did to my ‘real’ mother. And by the way, she was Jewish.
Her name was Sydelle, or just Syd. In her final years we all called her Mama Syd, and that became her email handle. She taught me many things, and one I remember most often is a directive her father gave her: “You have a responsibility to know.” He encouraged his daughter, this would have been in New York City in the 1930s, to be aware of what was going on around her, and how it affected her life and her decisions in that life.
So, to stay in the know, Syd read the New York Times cover to cover every day, asked questions of everyone about everything, withheld judgements and opinions in her discussions to encourage people to reveal their true selves. She made almost everyone close to her to think they were her best friend (including me, but I really was 😉).
Now, in these serious times, I’ve committed myself to go one step further than Mama Syd taught me to do. If her step one was a responsibility to know, to know it deep down, and not just as news you’ve gathered in fleeting tweets and Facebook scrolls, then our step two should be to act upon what we know.
I can’t put it any more plainly: Take action and VOTE on or before November 3rd. If you’re an American citizen, vote in person or vote by mail. Know the implications of your vote. Vote for the candidate of your choice. If you’re not a citizen of this country, and even if you are, suggest to those you know who are citizens to vote. Even if you don’t agree with their politics, be kind and polite. Say Please. Please vote. It is your responsibility.