Y’all. Here’s thing.
Writing is not easy for me these days. Not at all. And I suspect there’s lots of reasons for that. Still, it just is. Not easy. And that’s hard for me.
But the thing is also this: I am so completely disappointed in and embarrassed by this poor excuse for a presidential election we’re living in that I’ve got to say something. Even if no one listens.
Last week, my college roommate heard one of her elementary-aged sons say, “Stop calling people names. Do you think you’re running for president or something?”
Read that again.
Let it sink in.
That’s what her sons (who are, BTW, two of the brightest and most compassionate kiddos I know) think of a presidential election. An excuse for name-calling. For being unkind to one another.
Also last week, someone asked me if Curly Girl is “interested” in the election. Now, it’s true that she has her opinions–and I can honestly tell you they are largely NOT informed by me. At least not intentionally. She pays attention. She hears things. She sees things. I know this.
But I also know that I have intentionally NOT sought to engage her in this particular election. I have not let her watch debates. I have not talked with her much about the day-to-day process of it. She knows who I will vote for, and I’ve told her my reasons why…but I’ve otherwise worked to keep her oblivious.
Because Oh. My. God. This debacle is decidedly not “kid-friendly” or “for the whole family,” or even, most of the time, rated PG.
I honestly and truly do not write this out of my own political persuasion. If you know me personally, you know where I stand. If you don’t know me personally, please do not assume. But do, either way, hear me when I say: This is not about who I am voting for. This is about how we’re all collectively, as a nation, behaving these days.
I’m horrified at the vicious and bitter words I see people flinging at one another. Heartbroken at the tendency to immediately stereotype and box-in and assume and judge. Appalled at the way I see people I care about talking to one another on social media. So completely disheartened at the fear-mongering, the propagating of things that just aren’t true, the broad statements of “I’m right and you’re wrong.”
We’re collectively arrogant, y’all. Bitter. Afraid. Angry. Desperate for something that makes sense and gives us hope. And instead of working together towards a better way for all of us, we’re tearing at each other like a pack of starving wolves, snarling over the carcasses of our ideals and convictions and biases and determined to declare victory over our particular part of the carnage.
We’ve lost any sense of a “high road,” blinders firmly in place and our sights set on division.
Do you know what division does? It tears apart. Destroys. Makes something once whole less than. It does not heal. It does not make things better. It does not win.
And regardless of who wins, I am honestly so afraid for our future. Because if this is who we are in a time of crisis and controversy, if THIS is how we handle national dysfunction…well, I’m not sure we stand a chance.
So let me just say this–please, please, please: Listen first. Talk less. Count to 10. Try your damnedest to walk in someone else’s shoes. Work to value the person more than his or her opinion. Stop referring those who don’t agree with you as “idiots.” And above all, don’t give in–Do. Not. Give. In.–to the fear and the hate.
I love this country I was fortunate enough to be born into. I love it enough to say, “We’re better than this.”
Because we are. I believe this with all I’ve got.
And whether or not we choose to act upon that truth is going to determine our future as nation. I believe this with all I’ve got, too.