In the wake of this recent election I’ve had a lot of conversations in mind about how to move forward. It has also taught me a lot about myself. This election will be the catalyst for me to make some serious space for change, growth and education.
I received a text from a loved one that read:
“Though our political views may be different (although no one knows mine because I won’t discuss it) the media is feeding Americans fear and THIS is what I do not want for my kids. I don’t want them to be scared of their future or their president. He may not be the right decision but I will support whomever America has made our president elect and that is the message I would like the kids to understand. God is in control and I for one am greatful for another day with my fam. So please keep the news off for the next few days if my kids end up over there.”
There is a lot going on in these few words and I have taken a full 24 hours to think about my response. Initially my reaction was an eye roll with a sigh because “I won’t discuss it” was a big trigger for me personally. In my immediate family this has been the status quo, the way we live life. We didn’t/don’t discuss anything that could be confrontational or differ from the family member we’re discussing it. Sexual abuse, drug addiction, sexual orientation were all swept under the rug and forgotten about; it didn’t happen. Shame was and is continuing to be promoted. After the pause of 24 hours I respectfully accept that people do not want to discuss what is too difficult; however, I stand here fully exposed, afraid, proud, raw and full of optimism to tell you that I REFUSE to remain silent any longer.
In my past I was a dog trainer and owned a small home based company doing just that – I reference a lot of things back to that time because the way that I worked with and understood dogs has really translated in to how I try to approach a lot of challenges and questions that I may have. One lesson I carry over is that ignoring a behavior condones the behavior. If I remain silent then I am saying that it is ok, I accept this, please continue this behavior because I have not communicated that I want something other than that.
I also agree with this family member that our president elect IS our president elect whether you voted for him or not. My choice is to remain optimistic and do my best as an American to support the person that the nation chose to put in office. I also realize that I must do my part to educate/reeducate myself on just what this president elect’s platform is, how this whole government and politics thing works, and what I can do if I disagree with anything as we move forward in this transition. I admit that I chose and choose to avoid a lot of discussions because I don’t feel that I really know what I’m talking about in terms of facts and while my emotional reactions are valid, they need to be backed up by research and understanding to really make an impact and to help me feel confident in handling these discussions.
I respect the right to protest and grieve in the way that someone may need. Social media, the news outlets, print all have presented the story in the manner that they seem fit and in the way that affects the authors. I do not and will not participate or condone hate speech, disrespect, violence, bullying.
Parental protection of our young I completely support. Expressing the wish to not have certain experiences or conversations is the right of any parent. I also completely support having hard conversations and exposing our children to the world we’ve created. It’s our duty to share history, share our accomplishments and our failures, not be afraid to share our feelings or views with out loved ones. Share what can be understood and what you feel appropriate. Don’t pretend that your loved ones won’t see or hear what the media presents because even though they may not directly witness it people around them will and our children should be armed with the knowledge and confidence to engage in conversation should they choose.
I’m painfully aware of my privileged background growing up in white, middle class suburbia. Early entitlement left me under an ignorant blanket that I have been working on getting out from under since my teens. I am part of many silent minorities that I was taught to fear by my privileged background because being different was not acceptable. I was taught that if it wasn’t my problem to ignore it and let someone else handle it. I was taught and expected to be silent.
Together we shall stand. I will be seen. I will be heard. I see you. I hear you.
Let me leave you with words from my wife in a feed regarding the recent election:
I usually stay away from this shit, but seriously….I want to believe it’s going to be okay. I want to believe that there will be less hate and war between us and the world – I want to believe that my own struggling small business will be better for having a business man in the White House, AND as a woman who was sexually assaulted several times by men – is in a same sex marriage that i fought my fucking ass off for and didn’t just get the pleasure of casually walking in to a courthouse to get a piece of paper signed – with a biracial child with a disability that wasn’t adopted by my wife but made legally her own by more fighting through our marriage finally being made legal…..I am scared that our next president will condone bigotry and hate and otherness. I want to believe WE ALL won’t let that happen. I want to believe that our president elect will find a way to be a positive leader for us. But please, if you don’t know what it feels like to be us, please don’t be a dick. I let your freak flag fly on by when you say things that make me feel like you think I am less than you because I believe you have the right to speak your mind too.