Both before and after the election people approached me and said, “Wow, lots of material for your blog.” But I didn’t write. I couldn’t write about the election. I didn’t feel I wanted to take any type of political stand, publicly. I discussed politics with my immediate family and a few friends but the topic was so charged I felt it better to keep my thoughts private.
The more I saw on Facebook, people taking sides, the more I backed away. I am writing now because I believe it is the best way to handle what I am feeling and because it should be a logical article for a blog that gives a person’s perspective on a life event.
Like I said, before the election, I stayed away from a blog article and naively thought like everyone else soon enough it would all go away and I could quietly slip out of writing anything. Remember all those posts on FB saying:
“Can’t wait until this is all over. Time to move on.”
And then things got worse. And there was no moving on. So now here I am, giving my two cents.
I have been feeling sick to my stomach and so saddened by the fallout. Rather than focusing on who won and who lost, I have been overwhelmed by the hate that is going around on all sides. This is not one party or another. It includes people from every side. It sickens me. People who are condemning bigotry are spewing hate at those they criticize. It is just awful.
This is what I learned on election night. There are a lot of people in pain in this country, enough people to create a movement and sound an alarm. Voting for a candidate was far from black and white. The issues and reasons for a vote were complicated.
I am a person who looks at all angles of an issue and it is clear to me that this vote signified how many people wanted their voices heard. Many of these people were quiet and didn’t express whom they would vote for because they didn’t want to be judged. I was quietly saying all along this could be a close race, even an upset because I was getting the sense that there were a lot of people out there not admitting who they were going to vote for. And I guess I was right.
And why were they silent? Because they were afraid they would be judged. And history has shown they were right.
I was brought up to respect people’s differences, to approach life with an open mind and to do my research before forming an opinion. I was taught tolerance, compassion and understanding and the importance of hearing multiple viewpoints, which often challenged my own. These are the values I wanted to pass on to my children. It was important they go to a college or a university which would open their minds, challenge their beliefs and create open and free dialogue.
The Millenials have taken a hit in terms of how they have responded and honestly I agree with the criticism. Not that long ago I wrote a blog article about why it is important for our children to experience failure. I was worried they wouldn’t know what failure looked like and how to cope. Maybe my article was a premonition of what was to come. Comments in the last week like “feeling hopeless” are commonplace among young people. Feeling hopeless? Really?
Throughout Election Night and the days following, I spoke often to my sons. I was disheartened to hear my youngest talk about how people were crying all over campus and when he entered his first class of the day, his professor was crying as well. Rather than an open discussion and post-election analysis, the professor conducted the class based on her own emotion and asked the students to rebel. My son felt anyone with any other viewpoint would be “massacred”(so to speak) if they spoke a word to the contrary. What to me seems like such a wonderful learning experience has instead become a campus filled with students who are fearful, anxious and some who have been targeted and harassed.
What is happening?
“Why do people feel they have the right to tell me how to feel? How to vote? What should be important to me?” my son asked. He abruptly signed off all social media.
“What do I tell my children?” This appeared all over social media.
This is what I would tell my children.
Life is not always fair. We don’t always win. Throughout history, there have been winners and losers. It is the true test of our character what we do next, how we handle ourselves. Let us look beyond ourselves in order to understand what happened and move forward in a productive way.
Fight for what is important to you, by taking action. Roll up your sleeves and become part of something bigger than yourself to make a change. Spewing on social media is not taking action.
Next week is Thanksgiving. A time for reflection and to give thanks for what we have. Our relationships with people are most precious and how we treat each other is really important. As we sit at the Thanksgiving table, with family members and friends lets try to keep the politics at bay.
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Blog Article “Why Our Kids Need To Experience Failure”