The day after the election I posted about moving forward in a “life goes on” sort of way. It was not meant to be flippant or dismissive to the fears and anger or the anticipation and elation that follow such a passionate election cycle. It was meant, in fact, to be a comment on how, in spite of the changes and challenges our country faces, the day to day life goes on.
Perhaps some insight to my morning would help some to understand. You see, when I awoke that next morning and checked my facebook page, amid all of the political vitriol taking place was a reminder that November 9th was the birthday of a dear young friend. My heart simultaneously reminded me that he was no longer on this earth to celebrate that birthday. In fact, he has been as been gone from this world for a year now.
I could only imagine how his parents felt that day after the election as they were reminded that they would never celebrate a birthday with their son here on earth again. THAT alone put all of the post-election chaos in perspective for me. His parents, my friends, have spent the last 365 days walking through this life without their child. Grieving him while taking care of the day-to-day business.
Life changes, sometimes quite drastically and all the while the sun rises, the sun sets, the dog has to be let out to do his business, groceries must be bought, meals cooked, bills paid. In the midst of all of the change, we must continue on with the mundane. Going about my business does not mean that I do not recognize the pain, the fear, the anger, the hurt and the anguish from ALL of my fellow Americans in the fall-out of a very emotionally charged election. I can’t escape it and I know it is going to take time for everyone to work through their feelings, in the meantime, I have to tend to life as it comes at me. I have to move forward daily and I must help those around me who stumble as they try to do the same.
While we all start this process of moving forward, I would like ask you all a few favors, and I do mean ALL. Can we stop looking at this situation as winners and losers? Can we understand each of us were as passionate about their choice as the next person? Can we accept that those choices were made for a myriad personal reasons? Reasons that, by the way, do not suddenly make them nasty or deplorable or uneducated people by association. Oh, and can we PLEASE stop the name calling? (I would personally like to abolish “Butt hurt whiners”, but we don’t have to stop there) Can we stop marginalizing people’s fears? Can we stop alienating friends and loved ones for exercising their right to vote and voting their conscience just because their candidate (or the candidate we assume they voted for) did not align with our needs and beliefs? Can we be more generous with the gift of time to heal the hearts and souls of an America that is great not because of who sits in the White House, but because of the parent who sits in the school drop-off lane, the person who works in a factory, a hospital, a law office, a prison or men and women who serve our country’s military?
This was an election for the ages, not a football game. The “we’re better than you” attitude has no place in the afterglow or aftermath of the election. In an election SO close in numbers, with record numbers of people actually coming out to vote, this is a place to dust off our old pals Sympathy and Empathy. Remember them? I learned their meanings in the second grade along side Antonym and Synonym, which I admittedly still struggle with, but Sympathy and Empathy are two words I have remembered and understood ever since. They made quite the impression back then and they are badly needed in this situation now.
What’s done is done and while I realize that it isn’t all that simple, we have to find a way to move beyond the us against them viewpoint and begin to turn our anger, our fear, our anticipation toward working for the changes we want to see while practicing sympathy and empathy for humankind.
Humankind, isn’t that a lovely word? Reminds us that when we strip away all of the labels, republican, democrat, black, white, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, gay, straight, blonde, brunette, red-head, man, woman, we are HUMAN and we ought to be KIND to each other
Today is a day we set aside recognize the men and woman who serve our country to defend our rights. Men and women who give up birthdays and anniversaries and holidays and time spent with their families and traded those day-to-day tasks for arduous training to prepare them to protect our freedoms. In honor of their sacrifice, I continue to go about my day as I always have. I will do my dishes, I will do my laundry, I will plan for tomorrow, I will serve my family, my friends and my country with those gifts I was given in second grade. I will remember my young friend. I will remember his parents. I will remember to love my friends ad family through these tumultuous times. I will remember to celebrate and create and love and build people up and I will honor them all with my human kindness
Show your human kindness, won’t you?