Yesterday I talked about how I realized that I was falling into the polarized mess that became this election. Today, I still feel just as upset about who it was that won, but not because of that polarization.
The path of polarization has only brought hate and fear. I learned that lesson from my own upbringing, and I learned it again yesterday. We can no longer afford to automatically assume that someone who looks or thinks different than ourselves is the enemy. We can no longer afford to get into the same arguments over and over, and have elections be ‘us v them’ like they have been for the past 20 years. We need to find a better way, and I believe that part of that way is trying to understand each other, to teach and educate, and not respond so harshly to one another.
That being said, we still have to stand for our own values, and ensure that everyone…EVERYONE has the same basic human rights.
Today, now more than ever, I fear for those who look, think and act differently. I fear for those who were just starting to feel safe loving someone that society says they should not. I fear for those who choose to be what society says not to. We, who look more like we ‘fit in’, need to do what we can to help. We need to say some thing when we see injustice, and be prepared to act if necessary.
I remember a bumper sticker I saw once, “If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.” Yes, I am outraged. And yes, I’m upset. It’s going to be a long, hard 4 years. And that’s why my next steps are still going to have to include backing off of my intake of media attention. And I’m backing off and filtering my social media feeds as well. With the exception of National Public Radio (NPR), which is the least biased media I can find, I need to do this. And my best is that I’m not the only one who should consider this. We are only going to burn ourselves out if we start scrutinizing every move our government makes from this point on. There will be plenty to be outraged about. But we sill need to live our lives as well. We still need to give ourselves rest and allow ourselves to heal. What good will we be to others if we are burnt out from hearing story after story that induces frustration and anger? We have to choose our battles now, and choose wisely.
There will be people out there with a better constitution than I who will be more active than I. That doesn’t mean what I’m doing isn’t enough. It means they will do what it is that they can, and I will do what I can. I’m already thinking about what I can change in my budget to allow for more money to go to organizations like the ACLU, and other organizations that support LGBT rights. Where others cannot afford to help monetarily, perhaps I can.
Finally, and what perhaps may be the hardest, we still have to reach out to those who think differently than we do. We still should not judge others immediately by what we think they mean. We need to be respectful, and we need to let their actions tell us what they truly feel and believe. If they don’t believe in the basic premise of human decency, of basic human rights, THEN we need to get to work. But until then, we need to see more people as potential allies, because we are going to need every one of them we can get to step forward together.