Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Election 2016. A Lesson in Love.

Good morning, America.  It's been a rough year, hasn't it?  We've been through a lot during the past 12 months.  And just like most other elections, about half of us woke up this morning a little disappointed.  Or a lot disappointed.  Or horrified.

And yet.

This time feels different.

I've been disappointed with election results before.  That's nothing new.  But this is the first time I've felt fear. I cried myself to sleep last night wondering what in the world just happened.  No joke. Washington politics have always felt a little distant to me.  Last night it felt personal.

To me, this morning felt a little like the morning after 9-11.  Our country has been rocked.  (Or is it just me?) So, what now?

Now, we move forward.

There is no hiding.  There is no throwing up our hands and claiming our future is doomed. There is no need for further bickering, name calling or division here.

Onward.  And more importantly, upward.

My biggest hope is that Americans have selected this new president because they had such a strong mis-trust of the major opposing candidate, or they were so dissatisfied with the current administration that they picked anything that represented a change in course.  That I can attempt to understand, in spite of my disagreement.

My biggest fear is that Americans have selected this new president because they support his mantra of disrespect and hostility toward women, minorities, immigrants, and the LGBT community.  That is not something I can sit with.

My comfort, my healing and my future will entail a more active role in loving my fellow humans.  Showing up for candlelight vigils when tragedy strikes is not enough. We must be deliberate and intentional about supporting each other even when things seem quiet.  We cannot sit and say we love our neighbor.  We must engage ourselves in loving behavior.

When women are angry about salary inequalities or objectification, let's listen and understand.  When refugees express fear of discrimination and violence, let's be vocal and active in our support for them.  When black people talk about the emotional toll of  micro-aggressions, let's look deeper into our own behaviors.  When the LGBT community begs for equality, let's stand up with them and demand it on their behalf.

Let us remember that we are a country built on a history of violence and mistreatment of those that are different and less powerful.  It is time to change our game plan, America.  How about a little more love?  A little more acceptance?  A little more acknowledgement of our failures and determination to try something new, better, and different?

Love can be a noun.  A thing.  A feeling.

Or, love can be a verb.  An action word.

How will you love your country?