Friday, November 11, 2016

Be the change, a case for unity

I hope this will bring education, if not encouragement, to many if you who are scared.

I used to be "dyed in wool" Republican...
I personally know many people, including my husband and father (men I respect and love and trust deeply), who voted for Trump. It was after much pain at his remarks and the views of some of the supporters. Many felt it was a "lesser of two evils" situation for a variety of policy reasons. I know many people who are single issue voters about abortion. They will never vote for anyone who isn't 100% pro-life and dedicated to overturning Roe V Wade.

I have cried and begged some of them to not vote for Trump, explaining my concerns as a mother of a special needs child, a woman, a mother of a teenage girl, a friend of many nationalities and sexualities. We had deep and meaningful discussions. I KNOW many are not racist and do not condone racism and even actively fight against xenophobia and bullying... They volunteer and feed the hungry and serve their communities... But the commitment to the policy and/or religious reasons  prevented them from making a different choice. It's heartbreaking and ugly and sad... And I understand them and love them. I've taught them that not all liberals are __________. And they've shown me that not all conservatives are _____________.

We are human beings who do not fit into neat little boxes. Being defined by the candidate we voted for is unfair for everybody.

There are so many of us "in the middle" who aren't Republican enough for half our friends and not Democrat enough for the other. I consider myself a bridge-builder. It's a lonely place sometimes, and I'm in physical pain from clenching my teeth as I scroll past hate and hypocrisy on both sides.  I URGE you to not retreat into a bubble! That polarization that we are all reeling from? It's from being isolated with like-minded individuals telling each other how great we are. We can't point fingers at one side or the other and blame them for being close minded while simultaneously unfriending everyone who disagrees with us. It's hard. It's messy. It's democracy and family and putting our people above our policies. Isn't that what we wanted to see? We wanted people to be more important than policies? We have to be that change we wish to see.

I've lived this middle ground for many years. It's hard work. It required me to suspend my personal beliefs and consider the possibility that I might be wrong about some people and things... Or about everything. It would be much easier to listen to a party or pulpit tell me what is best. I would find comfort in following instructions and knowing that the outcome was ordained or orchestrated.

If we truly seek change... If we desperately want unity, it has to start with US. We cannot wait for "them". They are us. We are them. We are America, let's act like it.

Footnote: I voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson

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