I hate myself for writing this. There are so many opinions on the Internet that I'm hesitant to even bother sharing mine. I made it through a tumultuous (to say the least) campaign without commenting, but the complete lack of positivity on the web today has forced me to write, if not simply for my own sanity. Hopefully, the words below might be a touch of light in what feels like a perpetually dark night...
I don't really care if you voted for Hillary or Trump or anyone else and I don't think you should care who I voted for either. One of the biggest lessons I've learned from this election is that a person is more than a vote. As I talk with friends and family who all support different candidates, I'm reminded that the people I know and love are not defined by the dots on their ballot. And I think the same is true for everyone.
I, and maybe we, have a tendency to want to define someone's identity by the person they voted for. But when we put people into the boxes we ourselves have created for them ("You voted for Trump/Hillary, so you must believe _____"), we only make it harder to create and maintain relationships.
Fostering enmity because of a difference of opinion is what got us to this divided state in the first place. And in doing so, I'm worried we've forgotten how to treat each other. I'm worried we've forgotten how to empathize. I'm worried we've forgotten how to love.
Black, white, gay, straight, native citizen, immigrant, city slicker, rural folk. The gap between these groups and their ideals is constantly widening and the only thing that's going to bridge that gap is a love born from empathy. Maybe this is crazy, but what if instead of pointing our fingers at politicians we despise, we held out our hands to people who need our love?
"But Hillary supporters think _____." "But Trump supporters think _____." "But she's _____." "But he's _____." Fill in the blank with whatever you hate most...then choose to love the person behind the belief.
And if your response to the above sentence is "I can't," then you're a much bigger problem for America than Donald Trump. Because if America is a nation full of people who can't learn to love each other, then the next president is the least of our concerns.
I remember after the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, the slogan was "Love Wins," but I look around America and I'm not convinced. I mean, did love really win? Because I sit here and I read tweet after tweet and post after post and article after article full of hate and depression and anxiety and fear, and all I can think about is that if this is a nation where love has won, I must be missing something. Because by the looks of it, love still has a lot of work to do.
And here's the thing: that doesn't start in The White House. That starts in my house and that starts in your house. It's up to us, not Trump or Hillary or Obama, to decide what defines the character of our nation. What if instead of letting politicians upset us we let each other uplift us?
I realize my voice is small, but instead of using it to shout hatred at Washington D.C., I'm going to use it to whisper love to my neighbor. @@Hatred may be louder, but love is stronger. And I think if enough of us whisper, we can drown out the yells@@.