The biggest reason that I write and teach the arts is because I believe that everyone has a story and that everyone’s voices deserve to be heard. When I woke up after the election, I was hit with hopelessness, but then I tried to come up with every reason I could to feel hopeful. One of the biggest is that people are voicing themselves about important things.
I grew up hearing that you don’t talk about politics. Now, more than I can remember, racial equity, immigrant and refugee rights, gender equality, LGBTQ rights, and climate change are out on the table being talked about rather than swept under the rug. My social media is filled with people sharing their grief, anger, and fears and lifting each other up. This speaking out is such a huge step.
What’s missing is the other piece of conversation – listening. There are people saying, “I don’t understand. How could this have happened?” and then essentially disowning their friends and family who helped make it happen rather than listen for the answer. I saw protesters outside of a Trump rally shouting, “Love Trumps Hate” with two middle fingers in someone’s face. And it wasn’t to be ironic. For every Facebook post that has given me hope, there has been at least one response, sometimes from the someone of the opposing political party but often from within the same one, attacking the poster with hatred.
This country is divided enough. Instead of driving these cuts deeper, can we begin to heal them so that we can continue taking steps forward? I’ve never seen a situation where someone changed a person’s mind by attacking them. But I have seen people who disagreed work through their differences by listening to each other and then work together to achieve something. And we have a lot of work to do.
I’m aware that people might attack me for posting this – for being too liberal or for being too soft when I should be outraged and call people out for supporting a hateful, intolerant candidate. Or that I can say this because I’m white and privileged (which is totally true and valid). If so, I will do my best to hear you.
But I’m not saying that I’m not outraged or that I accept unjust policies. I’m saying that we should continue to fight even harder for social justice and human welfare and the environment. I’m just saying that if we listen and try to understand each other, maybe we can fight from a place of love instead of hate.
Because I don’t think that love is too soft. I think love might be the strongest thing we’ve got.
Thanks for listening. 🙂