A slight departure from the regular tone of this site, though perhaps not.
Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. That is true everyday, but here in the States, today has a little more gravitas than usual. Because yesterday, one of the most divisive election cycles finally came to an end with the inauguration of Donald J Trump as President of the United States.
Say what you want about the outgoing commander-in-chief, but he and his family were shining examples of class and elegance.
And say what you want about President Trump, but civility and decorum are two words even his most aligned allies will never say about him. But I digress…
I am an American.
Above most other things really. I am a woman, true to myself. I am a wife and a mother, and a friend. And by a lucky accident of birth, I am an American, instead of Polish, or Kenyan, or Russian. I feel a tremendous amount of pride when I hear the Star-Spangled Banner. The story of our founding father speaks to me and though I know we are not a perfect union, we strive….
I think that America is a grand and beautiful experiment that is unique, and wonderful and greater than the sum of its parts. Yes, we have failed. So many times on so many fronts. We will fail again, and again. But we will also try again, and slowly but surely we as a united people form a better nation. So #notmypresident, while I understand the spirit, for me is not true. Because I am American, he is my president. We are in this together.
We are the same you and I, fellow Americans. It doesn’t matter if your brown and I’m white. It doesn’t matter that you’re a man and I’m a woman. It doesn’t matter that you arrived here last week and my family arrived in 1637. It doesn’t matter that you voted for Trump and I voted for Hilary. It doesn’t matter. We are in this together.
The funny thing? The stereotypical white guy Trump voter in the “Make America Great Again” baseball hat and the newly arrived Muslim Syrian refugee have more in common than not. We all want this country to thrive and prosper. We want to be safe. We all want basic needs, for ourselves and hopefully to have enough grace to hope the same for our neighbors. We want to leave a better world for our children (we want to leave a world for our children). We want our taxes to mean something, and not fall into a black hole of fiscal irresponsibility. We want a job we can take pride in.
When you consider that the majority of our life goals are the same, the name calling and vitriol seems a bit silly, on the face of it. When we label our neighbors as confused, or uneducated, or worse, it does us all a disservice. As Americans, it is time to come together. What is a libetard? Your neighbor who supports the ACA because cancer runs in their family and she is scared to death of lifetime insurance caps? Perhaps that perspective is what is needed, the hearing of our individual stories, so that you, gentle reader, can overcome your distaste of said neighbor’s “I’m With Her” bumpersticker.
I can’t believe that President Trump and his rhetoric represents America. I know that it doesn’t represent me. Do we really hate each other as much as Trump, and the media, say we do?. Our government represents us, the people. Make your voice heard. Ditch the labels. Think independently. Heck, color outside your party lines. Democratic leaning citizens can want fiscal conservatism. Republican leaners can support healthcare for all. We are complex beings living in a complex world. Rarely does one perspective represent a person completely.
Show what is important to you. And, I am fine with whatever is important to you being something that I am against. Please show me the same courtesy. It is not a lost cause. We need to see an outpouring of activism, of being involved in the choices that are happening in Washington, at the state level, at the local level. The world is big enough for all of us to passionate and involved, without stooping to racism and name calling.
Over half of registered voters in the US didn’t vote in this very contentious and very important election. Say what??!? For God’s sake, now is the time! Whatever you are passionate about, get involved. Volunteer time. Write a check. Make a sign. Talk to someone at your local level in government. Attend a school board meeting. Support the Alderman’s race or the city council. Find out what your local arts commission needs and spread the word.
We are in this together. We always have been, and by the luck of birth or by the sweat of your brow you are now in this country and part of this vast and wonderful experiment. So, let’s act like we are in this together. Everyone deserves respect and a voice.
We are in this together. United we stand. Let’s unite.