It’s closing in on a week since we voted, all silently knowing the outcome of a rigged system and all stunned at the upset outcome.
Upset. We’re all upset. Whatever your reason, this country has not been this polarized since the Civil War, where families and best friends are swearing off each other and entire groups of people are living in fear or helplessness.
When did we forget that we’re all in this together?
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” -Mother Teresa
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” -Mahatma Gandhi
My friends, given the things said over the past year and a half by our President-elect, there are people rightfully feeling a deep despairing fear, of the unknown based upon a track record. There are others of you seeing some of these people acting out negatively, while you shake your heads at their destruction before the oval office proof and you tell them to just calm down.
The media is lying to both of you. That’s the nature of today’s media.
But that’s the great part about America. We have countless media outlets and as many opinions as there are people and you don’t and shouldn’t have the same opinion as me because we are created differently and that’s the power of a free America.
Can we agree to disagree? There is a need to mourn and fear, but not to be destructive, and there is a way to celebrate a win without alienating others.
Above all, show solidarity. That is the one thing you can do to help this. Even if you don’t agree with all groups feeling hopeless right now, I’m sure you tolerate at least one. Ask a disabled person in line behind you how they’re doing and actually listen, or fist-bump your African-American friend. Seek out someone in the LBGT community or a Hispanic-American, and give them a minute of your time.
I have the belief that most of us are just as tired of this and want change as much as the next person does. It’s a small minority that is acting out right now, but it’s riling us all up, and destroying relationships with people we loved a week ago, despite their opinion. Most of us are really great people, with the opportunity of a lifetime to love deeply, be charitable, and pass grace on. You know, all the things we constantly share in our Facebook and Twitter feeds, about the good of humanity. Friends, the ability to do that has been placed at our own feet, right on our own doorstep. How many of us are ignoring that knock while we sit and post another inspirational video?
We need healing. We need our friends and family to be there for us in this transition, politics aside. Politics, the thing we usually keep away from the dinner table, is now everything anyone wants to talk about and we’re surprised when everyone is angry and doesn’t see it like we do. They never did, we just had the respect to not constantly talk about it, because we remembered we all have different opinions back then. A week ago.
If you are a Christian, our greatest commandment is to love God with your everything. The second is to love others, as God loves you. The New Testament is literally riddled with these two themes, the entire way through it, and Christ Himself spoke of it often and lived it out constantly. Without boundaries, without condition, because God loves each and every one of us, despite our constant failure.
Why do we always forget?
My challenge to you, if you are tired of this mess in whatever capacity, is to get off social media and out of your home and be there for people. Actually listen to someone different than you, in any way. Smile and say hello. We are already a society mocked for having our faces in our phones and no longer actually relating to people. It’s the accelerant to this fire. It takes zero effort to click Share on a scathing article to “show why we’re right” on one side of a screen, but a whole lot more effort to take a second to actually see someone, as a human being, without the haven of a screen.
You will not change the opinions of those you know, you will only alienate them. We are far past the point of “educating” our loved ones. What you CAN do is smile at someone. Make you what they post about later, this incredible stranger who paid for their lunch, found common ground to talk about (outside of politics) for a few minutes, or noticed their beautiful scarf. You have the power to change what others are talking about.
As for oncoming legislation, that’s an unknown for all of us. Whether you’re hopeful or filled with dread, none of us know how this is going to go.
Remember what our daughters, sons, parents, grandparents, great-grands fought and died for. It was just Veteran’s day, and many of us lost sight of it and traded it in to re-hash politics with our friends and family. They fought for the right to free speech and liberty, to be able to voice our opinions, protect those being oppressed, and the freedom to choose what we want to spend our life doing and being about. We are the most privileged and wealthiest populated country in the world, whether we want to accept that or not. Everyone is watching us…what are we showing them? Chaos? Lonliness? The power of media?
But, we do have the power to make this feel a lot less lonely, defend someone if we need to, and show love in a radical way, and we don’t even have to try very hard right now.
And if you’re extra passionate about your viewpoint, take the time to write your Representative an educated letter. Get together with friends and make it’s draft a face-to-face group thing.
We are all in this unknown thing together. Find someone who needs you and your bright spot. Hint: it’s literally anyone you come across.
Humility. Grace. Understanding. Love. And the greatest of these is Love.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” -Col 3:12