I never write about politics here, on LinkedIn, or any other social media platforms. The reason is that while I love to debate I hate to argue, and both politics and religion are two areas you can typically count on people getting mean and unreasonably argumentative if you let the conversation go on long enough.
But after last night’s election I, like a lot of other people, really feel a need to express my opinion. I went to sleep last night secure in my belief that although I know some Americans can be self centered and unkind the vast majority of us are good people who would not step on others to get what they want. Although I was a little worried, I didn’t really think Trump had a chance of being our next president. Sure, a lot of reasonable people I know supported him, but come on. I was wrong.
I was honestly shocked and depressed all day. I don’t agree with a majority of Trump’s political views, but that’s just part of living in a democracy. The problem I have is with what he stands for. The problem I have is personal.
I have a son who has always loved to shock people. He’s said the most outrageous things he could think of since he was old enough to talk. He’s a teenager now and in spite of frequent discussions about it simply not being nice he still loves anything with shock value. Mind you, he’s a great kid who really does emphathise with others and is a truly good person. He just loves to say things that get a big reaction.
He’s said he was a Trump supporter since day one (since I said how opposed I am to him) and joked about how when Trump won I’d have to carry a ‘woman card’ and wear an apron. He laughs when he sees Trump say crazy mean and outrageous things, and I think because Trump is not just getting away with being a racist, sexist person in public but is being cheered on for it. I am maybe one of the least emotional people you could meet, but the fact that Trump was elected makes me want to cry. How do I explain to my kids that people like that are not OK and acting like that will get you nowhere when it just got Trump elected?
How do you fight that kind of negative example when it just got someone elected to the highest position in one of the most successful countries in the free world? After fretting about this all day I still don’t have the words to fix this. Because there are none.
Maybe that’s OK. I can’t change the world, but then I wasn’t able to change it yesterday either. Just like yesterday I can only change the little bit of the world directly around me. I can do more of the things I already do to try and reflect my morals, and look for new ways as well.
I can volunteer my time to do things for causes important to me. I can reflect my values in my daily life, like I do by being vegetarian. I can stop and talk to the homeless people I pass instead of acting like an entire piece of the human race is invisible. I can attend marches and demonstrations that highlight equality and the importance of each being. I can do things as simple as share information that I find important here, on Facebook, and anywhere else I deem appropriate. And I can hope that doing all of these things as often as possible will help to counteract the hate that my kids see in the world.
I am hopeful that a lot of people do not find Trump’s attitude towards what amounts to anyone not like him or agreeing with him OK. I am also hopeful that those of us who agree on this will stand tall and stand for what is right. Voting every 4 years is important but it is not enough. We need to live our values on an every day basis and make sure that our kids see that you don’t have to be in everyone’s face and blatantly offensive to be right.
I do have a huge ray of sunshine in all this. I fully expected my son to gloat and make jokes all day but the only thing he said all day was “Did you see who won?”. Not another word was said and he’s actually been really subdued all day. I’m hoping that as a teenage he kind of considered the whole thing a joke until today. Kind of like a lot of Americans.
Time to move on and move up. Time to be the good. I’m going to try and make a point of sharing lots of the good here that can find, I think we may need it for a while. Good like what? Good like the usual. Paddleboarding . Cycling. Being outside. Theater and restaurants and things to do around Tampa. Wine. Yoga. Pizza. Good things like volunteering, wonderful people, and causes important to me.
This blog already has more than enough subjects, but so be it. I do have focus though. Focus on being the good.
What can you do to fight hatred and exemplify good?