I LOVE MY COUNTRY BUT I CRY FOR IT TODAY

flagI’m not living lightly right now, at least not when it comes to politics and the state of our union. I’m scared.

And for the first time that I can remember, I will not watch the inauguration of the new president.

Others who have suggested the same thing or who have declined to attend the event are subject to ridicule and to charges of being undemocratic. I disagree. By not participating in Friday’s events, I’m displaying the highest action afforded by living in a democracy. I am being highly democratic by using the freedom granted to all citizens of the United States and given to us by the rebels of the eighteenth century who protested highly the actions of the British monarch.

I’m not going to flee, but I am going to use my First Amendment rights to show that I do not support a president who tweets insults for every little thing that is said about him in the media. His impulses scare me, and I will in no way condone what he tweets in the early morning hours from his golden palace in the air. Nor will I condone or support a man who lies and says whatever he needs to say to win.

The day he starts to show me he can be a diplomat and that he really does care about each of us rather than his name, his business, and his blown-up–yet fragile–ego, then I will be the first to support him. However, I will not apologize for my feelings and thoughts right at this moment. He hasn’t earned my trust, and he certainly didn’t receive my vote. And I have my doubts about the legitimacy of the election. I believe in my heart that our democracy was highly compromised by the FBI and by Russia. Whether the president-elect’s team had anything to do with either, I’ll leave to the professionals to decide.

I watched the “press conference” last week. A press conference with a cheering team paid by the president-elect doesn’t qualify as a press conference by me. And deciding which of the press is legitimate and which is not by the president-elect reminds me more and more of a dictatorship than a republic. Now the transition team is seriously considering removing the press corps from the White House. Control of the press is the first step. Or perhaps it’s silencing your enemies. The tweets are the first step to that end. Did I mention that I’m scared? I haven’t even mentioned foreign relations because I can’t. It makes me quiver to think about where we’re headed.

I do care about his tax returns. And I’m tired of him and his team, saying, “I speak for all Americans . . .” You do not speak for me. Not now. Not yet. Maybe never.

Saying you speak for me is denying the beauty of our country’s cultural, religious, racial, and sexual diversity. No one speaks solely for everyone in our amazing country. I love the United States, and today, my heart aches for it.

USA map multicultural group of young people integration diversity

USA map multicultural group of young people integration diversity isolated

 

 

FIGHT THE FEAR WITH KINDNESS

IMG_0671I’m starting to pull out of the worst hangover of my life. It didn’t come from alcohol. It came from my recent addiction to the news and the results of the 2016 Election. Since last Tuesday night, I stopped watching television. Yesterday, I finally forced myself to listen to NPR and to read the newspaper. But that’s it. I can’t listen to George, Anderson, Lester, or Scott say one more word. I feel betrayed, and I’m in deep mourning.

I know I have to pull myself out of this funk, but it’s difficult. The person who will soon be president of my country does not represent me. And I hate that feeling. Even when my candidates lost (or had the election stolen) in the past, I still felt respect for the highest elected office in my country. Why can’t I do it this time?

Because whenever I try to wrap my head around it, I hear the words–the hurtful, full of rocks and stones words–hurtled by the man who will soon occupy the Oval Office. I hear him referring to “the blacks,” “the Hispanics,” “the Muslims” without any recognition of why that is such divisive and fearful rhetoric. I implore others never to lump me in the category of “the whites” because that means you’ve just lumped me with Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson, and David Dukes. No, thank you very much. Do not judge me by the color of skin I share with such deplorables.

Those who supported the candidacy of the president-elect tell the rest of us to get over it. I’ve heard them say they didn’t do this when Barrack Obama was elected in 2008 and 2012. No? First, did President Obama ever threaten to deport them? Did he ever call them rapists and murderers? Did he ever implore them to turn in their neighbors or risk punishment themselves? Did he ever threaten to take away their rights? Did he ever threaten to take away their health insurance? Did he ever suggest he would date his daughter? And did he ever indicate that sexually aggressive behavior was the privilege of the famous?

I argue they did protest by blocking the President’s attempts to appoint a Supreme Court justice and to strengthen our gun laws, just to mention a few ways the other side protested.

Fear rules now that a man who has declared that sexual harassment in the workplace can be avoided by a woman simply leaving a job where she feels it’s occurring, who wants to abolish health care for millions who can’t afford it otherwise or who have preexisting conditions (although he may be softening on that), and who has a vice-president eager to do away the any rights gained for our LGBT community. Fear reigns in the lives of anyone who is an immigrant.

Yesterday, I saw it displayed at the post office. A young woman from China was behind me in line. She spoke broken English when she asked me some questions about mailing her package. Before I was called to the window for my business, I tried my best to advise her. She went to the clerk right next to me. He didn’t understand her English and was becoming annoyed with her. She turned to me, and what I saw in her eyes devastated me. She was afraid. Fear poured out of her, and she looked to me to help her. I told the clerk I’d take care of it, and he immediately called the next person in line, eager to be rid of the problem. I pulled her over to a counter and went through what she wanted to do and told her what to say to the clerk when she spoke to him again. She smiled and thanked me profusely as she touched my shoulder.

I walked away feeling better. I’ve been listening to those who say we must go on living our lives with more kindness to counterbalance the hatred running rampant in this country right now. It worked for me because for the rest of the day, I felt as if the hangover that had been hanging over my head for a week, lifted.

I’ve blocked and unfriended several folks on Facebook this past week. When a twenty-something relative who only works sporadically and then sponges off other relatives and the government while she finds herself told those of us who didn’t like the election results to leave the country, I blocked her posts from my newsfeed. When a friend from high school posted that anyone who voted for Hillary was insane, I unfriended him. And when another relative posted about her grief and was attacked by another relative for that grief, I cried.

We have the results. This is the reality. If we’re happy about last Tuesday’s election or if we’re struggling with accepting the results, let’s all vow to be kinder. Let’s fight the fear and hatred with love and compassion for all people. It’s going to be difficult some days. Fighting the bullies who have been given permission to act like bullies in public will take stamina, especially when the president-elect doesn’t recognize that he threw this coming-out party for jerks. Hope is difficult to keep when I hear him asked if he thinks his rhetoric went too far in the election process, and he answers, “No because I won.”

But I’m working on it, one day at a time, one act at a time, one person at a time.

Secretary Clinton and President Obama have set our bars very high for graciousness in a time of despair for many of us. Let’s reach their bars and go beyond.

And then pray.

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