Eva was all smiles as she ran into the car with our Starbucks mobile order this morning. (A quick aside, please know I am aware of the privilege and beyond-first-world-problem perch that I sit on as I write this.) “Mommy, they have the red cups and they’re awesome and they’re playing Christmas music in there and Christy Ann and Brooke say hi,” she said in her preteen-never-take-a-breath-voice. “I want to go back and stay in there all day!” Oh, sweetie, me too, me too…
This week has been hard. Hard may not even be the appropriate word. Devastating may be a little bit better. It’s not because my candidate lost. It’s because it kind of felt like hate won. During this season of campaigning, hate was spewed almost daily. Groups of people were made to feel like they didn’t belong. Like they weren’t worthy or equal. Words were said that have not been used in other campaigns by other candidates. And there’s a lot of hurt. And, unfortunately, that will not disappear overnight. To many, this was more than just an election.
I was in a group chat with several friends early this morning discussing the outbreak of protests across the country. I don’t understand them. It’s not my thing to go out and protest. I get that some people do though and I would just hope it could be done peacefully. But we were wondering what people hope to gain from protesting. The election wasn’t rigged. Trump won fair and square. It’s one of the amazing parts of our democracy that we can have an election and pick a new president.
I guess the protesters just want to be heard.
Protests aren’t limited to the streets of our cities though. Facebook is filled with passive and just plain aggressive posts from both sides. Even more crazy posts than during the campaign(is that really possible?). I’ve heard a lot of people wonder why democrats and people who didn’t vote for Trump can’t just move on. Of course then we’re told that’s what they did over the last eight years with Obama-which is not exactly true as I’ve seen a ton of disrespect in many forms thrown toward President Obama. We forget we all have different opinions.
The thing is, right now, it might be a little bit harder to just move on. Because of what has been said during the campaigns, this is not the same as when Obama, Bush, Clinton, or Reagan won. There’s so much hate. And worse than hate, people feel left out of the process. Women, minorities, and LGBTQ friends feel like the vote may have been a referendum against them. They feel like their voice doesn’t matter. But here’s the kicker, Trump was elected by a bunch of people who feel like Washington doesn’t hear their voice.
We all feel unheard in some way.
Maybe our differences are the thing that’s making us similar.
I’ve heard firsthand, real-life stories about people who are afraid. Afraid they’re going to be sent away. Afraid that their marriage will all of the sudden be null and void. The fear is real and I think our President Elect has a unique opportunity to step up and make everyone feel like they belong. I choose to believe much of what he said was an act and that he’ll rise to the occasion of the office. We need to hear from him sooner rather than later to let the healing begin.
Until then, how do we move on? We give each other a little space. We realize we’re not going to handle this situation in the same way. I choose not to protest. I choose to work harder to find the goodness. Look for hope. Spread kindness. I’m going to cover up some of the bad stuff with holiday cups, fairy lights, and glitter. It’s my silent protest…a protest for more good in the world.
Justin walks from the ferry to his office every day right by the spot where five people were shot last night. They say it had nothing to do with the protests but the big, bad world is real and cannot to be completely ignored. But I have to make it better. I have to find the sunshine for the four not-so-little people I love with all of my heart.
My kids decorated squash for school today. They named them Mr. Carrot and Mr. Squiggles. Mr. Carrot is actually a psychologist but prefers to be called Mr. and not Dr. Starbucks has red holiday cups. Thirteen designs I hear. Life has moved on. But let’s just try to reach across the proverbial aisle and hug our neighbors. Listen to a voice that feels silenced. Stop judging reactions. Find a way to be a better person. Find a way to spread joy. Be someone’s cheerleader. Embrace your inner squash decorating child. Feel the spirit that comes with the season. Say thanks for the perch that you sit on…especially if it’s one of privilege. Do good things. Use your anger to make a difference in this world. Listen…just listen.
We all want to be heard.