There is too much to say and there are also no words. The feeling that the world has been torn apart over the past few days is an understatement. Watching feelings come out of the woodwork, people divided. Politeness and empathy often left in the dust of panic. All valid and warranted.
There's palpable fear. Anger. Trepidation.
I had more than one moment of worrying about what I put out into the world. Tiny me, on my insignificant blog, in my tweets nobody reads, thought the worst more than once.
But I've come to realize we have to speak. We have to voice what we're feeling, our frustration, our discontent, our disgust.
We have to shout.
WE. HAVE. TO. SHOUT.
And that's not something I, or many I know, are used to. I'm used to polite, to quiet, to calm discussion.
Those days are over.
Many of us are being fundamentally challenged for the very basis of who we are.
With all that's going on in the world, this keeps coming back to me:
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” ― Fred Rogers
To me, that is a profound and powerful and positive thought.
It's scary out there right now. Everyone has their own ways of supporting. No one should be judging or shaming others on how they want to help. That angry energy could and should be channeled towards something other than divisiveness and judgement.
I hope people can soon come together instead of looking for ways to tear things even more apart.
I've found myself frozen in inaction this election season. As a writer, I've had no words. My creativity went missing and stayed that way as I silently watched the evolving mess. But, I've found brave, smart, resilient, like-minded people out there, wanting and working to keep this country safe and tolerant and moving forward. They inspired me to write this:
Never in a million years would I have imagined stringing those words and that thought together, but after this anxiety-producing, accusatory, contentious election season, I realize that one person is responsible for all that has transpired. You’ve brought the hatred that runs deep in this country out in the open.
Thank you for bringing intolerance into the limelight.
Thank you for showing the world what a bully in action looks like.
Thank you for showing us how many Americans would support building a wall to keep out those who want to move here, who would willingly break up families, who would deport those already living here.
Thank you for highlighting Islamophobia and for making sure radical terrorists got more attention than they ever have. By doing that, you highlighted the many Muslim-American families who are such a vibrant fabric of this country.
In fact, thank you for attacking Khizr and Ghazala Khan, grieving parents of an American hero. Thanks too for accepting a Purple Heart and then questioning its authenticity, while saying you always wanted one your own even though you were continually deferred from having to serve. While managing to insult Gold Star families, members of the military, and veterans at the same time, you brought their collective service and suffering to the forefront.
Thank you for mocking that reporter so that there could be more conversation about people living with disabilities and the extra challenges they have to deal with.
Thank you for making rampant assumptions about entire demographics with statements like Mexicans are drug dealers and rapists and African-Americans are barely surviving in violent ghettos. Those sorts of sweeping generalizations make it easy to pinpoint blatant racism.
Thank you for driving a deep wedge into the Republican Party, so the country could see how many elected officials would choose self preservation over the welfare of not just their constituencies, but the entire country.
Thank you for showing us just how partisan our government and governing institutions are.
Thank you for inadvertently talking about menstruation and maintaining the age-old superstition that periods render women incompetent. Because the millions of us in this country know that’s not true.
Thank you for choosing Mike Pence as your running mate. There is not a candidate more qualified for making sure the country knows your utter lack of respect for women and their right to make their own decisions about their bodies.
Thank you for bringing women’s issues to the forefront. Your predatory words and dismissive attitude, your rating system and misogyny enabled countless women to speak up and learn they’re not alone in having been abused and assaulted, victims of sexism, attacks, rape. When Hillary talked about a glass ceiling, she was calling out a fundamental truth in this country. Women have been treated as second-class citizens for too long.
As a society, we’ve done a remarkable job of keeping much of this just below the surface. But you blew the lid off, uncovering and highlighting the ills that run deep and keep this country from moving forward.
So yes, thank you Donald. The silver lining is that now it’s all out there. You shined a light on what is, and with that knowledge perhaps innovation can come.
Now it’s time for the thinkers, the doers, the dreamers, the visionaries, the educators, the activists, the people of this country, and hopefully the elected officials and lawmakers to work to make constructive and positive change happen.