As this election finally draws to a close I feel brokenhearted. I sit in anxiety and fear as a mother. As an optimist, mother and woman who only wants for everyone to love one another my heart hurts. It hurts because for the first time in my life I worry for my children. I worry for our country. I worry for the pain and division that has been caused by the people who support the candidates. One of which will be moving into the White House. I worry less about who will be living in the White House and more for the way this election has truly brought darkness to light in terms of the people who have launched vicious attacks on others in support of their candidate. The magnification of that which I live hoping doesn’t exist. Hate. Hypocrisy. Racism.
I would be dishonest if I said I didn't prefer one over the other and I would be dishonest if I said I fully support the one I prefer over the other. That is not the case. But this is not a political rant. This is a story of tears for what has been exposed like no other time in my life.
My heart literally hurts. This election and the mask of social media (we still see you) has uncovered more darkness than I ever believed was in our country. The vile retorts and attacks of an opposing opinion have me nauseated. Nauseated to think that people posting, sharing and ranting are parents. They are the role models for our children. Children who attend school with mine. These parents are the people who we live near, attend church with and who are making an impact on the children who will interact with and become adults with my child. These children hear and see what the role models do and say, it forms who they are for now, until they are old enough to decide differently.
This election has uncovered hate. It has exposed people who claim morals and values and yet are willing to argue and more importantly overlook and excuse the exact breach of morals and values they claim to have. Is that what we teach our children? We can't even rely on "do what I say not what I do" because the doing and saying are equally reprehensible.
Just over 8 years ago when my daughter was a newborn we spent January to election day campaigning for history to be made. Little did we know that not only would history be made but a family would become the most iconic role models in alignment with our morals and values that we could have ever imagined. And today we face a completely different future. The similarity is once again we are about to make history. Within hours we will know if the person who wins is in alignment with our views or is an outrage to our soul. We will know if our heart feels as if it is bursting with joy or feels like it has been ripped out and stomped on.
This isn’t just about my young daughter but also about my adult sons. This time they both have a voice. First time voting for one and second presidential election for the other. The younger proclaiming last year that he would not vote because his vote wouldn’t make a difference. As the year passed he witnessed what could be and how his vote is important. He recognized the power of democracy and the importance to stand up, show up and be heard by casting your decision. The elder son shares today about his experience in the last election, how he remembers it and what a cool day it was. Today he asks his peers, his friends, his fellow Americans “Let’s not f*ck this up, please”. This is my sons plea.
This isn’t just about my three children. This is about yours too. I have raised my children to have compassion for others. I have raised my children to live without judgement. I have also raised my children to stand up for what they believe in, today two out of three are claiming their position. They are doing so in a peaceful, democratic way. They are not attacking people. They are not being vile, they are not filled with hate. They were not raised that way. They did not hear parents shaming others. They were not raised to cast violence against an opposing opinion. They were taught to be kind.
This election and the people who have lashed out verbally, socially, violently are not teaching their children to embrace peace. No, those parents are perpetuating hate. They are magnifying evil. They are targeting and attacking instead of purposefully explaining their position and what it is they stand for instead of what they oppose. They are stuck in the mentality of negativity albeit hidden behind a slogan ‘Make America Great Again’ where vicious words contradict that statement. How can America be great again with the magnitude of hatred revealed throughout this campaign. It can’t.
Not one woman, not one man can repair the damage this election has done to our country. Neither of these people can heal the hearts, the friendships broken, the examples set. No words can be unheard. This is not the job of the President. She nor he forced any person to behave barbarically. That was a personal decision. It will take collective personal decisions to repair the damage this election has done. It will require people to become truly authentic where their actions match their words and words match their beliefs. It will require people accepting that we are all one nation under God or Allah or Confucius or Budda or Muhammed or the Universe. It will require that we as a people accept ideologies and lifestyles which may be uncomfortable while not directly impacting nor hurting us. It will mean that we will truly have to work together for the greater good rather than toward division.
It means we as a nation, we as parents, we as brothers, sisters, friends and enemies need to decide that we want to be the people of a country which was once the envy of the world instead of the laughing stock.
Change doesn’t happen effectively without movement. It’s up to us. Will we decide to move and come together or move further apart. Will we become positive role models so we can do our part to insure a better future for upcoming generations or is it just not important enough? Will we remember that we have a responsibility to be better? Will we take the action that will increase the probability of a nation of love and acceptance? We all have a choice that goes well beyond the vote we cast for a president.
I don’t care about your vote. I care about your soul and I care about our children.
When my daughter tells me she wishes Barack Obama could be our president again, I say “me too”. And I remember my sons plea, I will apply it today and every day in our future, “Let’s not f*ck it up, please”.