I’ve tried really hard (sometimes unsuccessfully) to keep my mouth shut about politics for most of the election. How I vote, how you vote, it’s none of anyone’s business I suppose.
But here we are. Our country’s faced with the reality I’m not sure many of us anticipated. I was truly sad when I had to tell my daughter the next morning how the election had turned out. We hadn’t talked to them much about the election or the candidates. Neither candidate was one we fully supported and frankly, the whole thing was just too ugly, too nasty, and too inappropriate to talk about with children. I told her that when she went to school that day, people may say things that are confusing or hurtful. People may have some big feelings about the whole things, that Daddy and I have big feelings about it too. We would talk more after school and I would answer any questions about whatever she wanted to talk about.
That evening, we talked about what people had said at school. Many students expressed dislike for the new president and there was talk of sending people with dark skin away and building a wall. My first reaction was anger that I was put into the situation of explaining to my nine year old daughter why some people think our president is going to send her friends away because of the color of their skin. Children shouldn’t worry about these things.
This is what I told her…
There are people who think it’s okay to treat others differently because of the way they look or the way they think. In our family, we don’t think that’s okay. God made us all and He loves us all the same. And He told us to love others no matter what. Just because someone’s skin is a different color, they come from another part of the world, they believe a different religion, or their family doesn’t look like ours doesn’t mean they are any less loved by God than we are.
There are people who think it’s okay to treat women differently than men. In our family, we don’t think that’s okay. Women can have whatever job they want and they should get paid the same as men. Women should be treated with respect. Women weren’t always allowed to vote and now that we are, it’s important that we always use that opportunity to stand up for what we think is right.
Nothing that happened with the election changes what our family thinks or how our family acts towards other people. We are still respectful, we are still kind, we are still loving. And we still expect those things from those people we meet, even if they don’t agree with us.
As we walked into the polling place on Tuesday, we were met with many people handing out flyers and stickers, holding signs, and shaking hands. We said “Good morning,” smiled, and were nice to everyone. It was a chance to show my children that everyone, no matter what they believe, is deserving of a “Good morning” and a smile. I hope they see that and I hope that we as adults can remember that. It seems a lot of us have forgotten that since the early hours of Wednesday morning.
If your candidate won, I hope you can be compassionate and patient. There’s talk of binding wounds and one America. But reminding people “don’t you have a moving truck to book?” and telling them to “stop whining” because their candidate didn’t win isn’t helpful. It only deepens the wounds that are already here and further divides us as a nation. It’s not about a black president or a white president, a woman president or a man (although those are long overdue for a nation as great as ours). It’s about deep hurt and fear for the future. Take a moment to appreciate and acknowledge the feelings of the other side. NOW is the time to stand together and really show those people who don’t look like your or think like you that it is possible to come together and move forward for our nation.
If your candidate lost, don’t lose hope. We are still a great nation. The fight is still worth fighting. I hope you can see the good in those who voted differently. That’s the whole game right? Seeing the beauty in people who aren’t like us! Take time to sit with someone who voted differently and ask them why. Listen. NOW is the time to stand up for what you believe and let your voice continue to be heard – whether you’re chanting in peaceful protest or whispering in the ear of a kindergartener “I see you. You matter to me.”
If you’re feeling scared or hurt or less than, please know this. I see you. You matter to me.
America was great on Monday. We were still great on Wednesday.
This sign hangs by my daughter’s door. Seems appropriate.