When I woke up Wednesday morning, I realized how much I had been living for the relief I thought would come with the mid-term elections. I was sure that my fellow Americans would rise up at the polls and soundly reject the division, racism, and cruelty from the current White House occupant. My heart is so proud of and soothed by the results, especially the number of courageous women who stepped into the arena. But I also feel very sad about how many people voted to continue these policies. It felt like a tie between good and evil, with lots of work still to go before 2020.
As I felt betrayed by these people who voted to maintain the status quo, I thought back to the Civil Rights activists who must have felt this way time and time again. I am sure there were decades of elections that supported the segregationist policies and blatant discrimination that is a shameful part of our history. And I know we will break through and past what is now testing our moral compass. But what do I do about the people I know who voted for Trumpism in 2018? Who are not repelled by the idea of putting kids in cages and destroying our critical relationships with our NATO allies. Who only look at their 401k and stock portfolio gains, and are willing to ignore everything else for their myopic financial well-being.
Part of me wants to separate from these people. If this is a true revelation of their core belief, that securing their personal finances justifies the dispicable means used by this administration. I am not sure if I want to spend my valuable time with them. Not sure if I want to keep trying to educate them or ignoring the integrity issue I feel when they start MAGA ranting.
So, I took a long walk yesterday and pondered this option. It does not feel right. It feels like I am surrendering to the divsion and tribalism. I realized a core truth. Not everyone gets “woke” at the same time or in the same way. Some people will have to experience the consequences of this darkeness first hand. They will be denied health care because they buy a sham cheap policy or have a pre-existing condition. They will lose their jobs due to the the tariff wars. And God forbid, they may lose their son or daughter to a stupid petty military skirmish that 45* starts as he acts even more like a caged animal. They may not get “woke” till it actually touches them. Most likely, not until it hits their pocket. But it will. And then we may have enough woke folks to send a clear message that this is not OK and must stop.
As I thought aout what I want to do over the next two years, I have decided on the following ways to still be active and represent my core values:
- I will focus on being a fierce advocate FOR hope, truth and kindness.
- I will speak up against fear-mongering, lies, and cruelty – from any political direction.
- I will work for and support candidates who present a vision of what we can become when we follow our better angels, work together on solutions, and lift each other up.
- I will accept that people will get “woke” in their own time and in their own way. Those who are late in this process are not bad people. They are ruled by fear. And as we know – we either come from a place of love or from a place of fear. I believe they will eventually choose love and join us in the good fight. I will reduce my efforts to educate or inform them. Instead, I will use that time to spread kindness in my community and work for the 2020 candidates who give me hope and truth.
Well, that is where I am at. I know many people wanted to know my thoughts after the 2016 election, and I had a hard time gathering them back then. Today I feel better. I am clearer about what is ahead of us and what I can and can’t do to save our democracy. I would love to know what you are going to be doing as we go forward.