, 11 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Yesterday I met with labor union representatives who asked me, "What are people telling you on the doors about how we can move forward?"

"Forward" is a really great-sounding, popular political term. Obama used it. So did Communist China in the 1980's: (向前看) I have, too.
It came up at our healthcare/reproductive freedom roundtable last night. "How do we move forward?" I asked my guests @MargieInTheDMV and @srobgyn.

Certainly, recognizing the need to move forward and having conversations is important, and a first step as Margie pointed out.
The refrain after a tragedy like #NewZealandTerroristAttack is always how to move "past" it. The same words used in the wake of the #Blackface scandals here in Virginia.

The metaphor underlying it all is: we're all on a linear path: backward is bad, forward is good.
Our President, ever the iconoclast, raised a slogan that looked backwards, and millions ate it up.

But is it really that two-dimensional? Can we do both?

In many S. Asian languages, the word for tomorrow and yesterday is the same. (Maybe we see time as cyclical, not linear.)
As a child, I pored over Edwin Abbott's Flatland, a tale of a two-dimensional world populated by polygons and the experiences of a square who is thrust into the 3rd dimension by a sphere.

Maybe instead of moving "forward" we need to zoom into a higher dimension.
Hearing Yale history professor @TimothyDSnyder (I watched #fahrenheit119 last night) dire warnings of our democracy slipping into fascism, I once again thought of this metaphor, the questions at the doors, and the confusion and bewilderment of so many voters I've talked to.
Prof Snyder said "History doesn't repeat, but history is this huge resource of patterns. It's this huge resource of structures. It's a way to try to get your bearings in a moment like the present one, where we're not really sure what's going on."

Just like the Sphere.
The Sphere showed the square what Flatland looked like from above. At once the square saw the inside and outside of everything.

Moving forward means we're ignoring most of what's beside us and what's behind us. Moving backward is no better. We need to transcend.
I wondered what white nationalists made of New Zealand. I collected a few screenshots, but I'm not going to share them. (As cognitive linguist @GeorgeLakoff reminds us, repetition only reinforces.)

It's the usual drivel. What I will point out is: it looks backward.
That's why our President's rhetoric resonates so well with white nationalists.

The answer isn't to move in the opposite direction. We're not playing tug-of-war.

Let's use our diversity to have conversations about where ALL of us come from.
Let's stop reinforcing the forward/backward metaphor.

Let's listen to experts who know their stuff and amplify their voices. Message their message.

Let's create and hold on to an aspirational vision of an inclusive America. We should all be #AspiringAmericans.

Let's transcend.
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