Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sometimes I have to try really hard to like humanity

I didn't vote on Tuesday. We are not living in the state of our residency and I didn't plan ahead enough to vote from afar. I'm a huge advocate of voting and using your voice and I take my kids to the polls to see how our votes count, so any lectures on those topics will be preaching to the choir. Unfortunately, t's just how it worked this year.

The elections are over and your people won or lost. Maybe it was a little of each. Maybe you've taken to the social media du jour to rant about it or celebrate. Maybe you're seething inside. Maybe you think things are about to take a huge turn for the better. Maybe you're sad and uncertain about what it means for your school district, neighborhood, town, state, country. I always have a lot of that around election time. An unnamed uncertainty about just what we're doing in our communities and our country to make life better, easier to manage, healthier for people in real, tangible ways. What we're doing for our earth, its water, land, air. What we're doing for the economy. What we're doing about school shootings and violence against women.

There are so many questions and not a lot of answers since politicians and the whole political process are pretty famous for being steeped in secretive, behind the scenes tomfoolery. It can make a person really angry. In fact it does make this person really angry.

I don't think government has all of the answers. OK. Scratch that. I KNOW that government doesn't have all of the answers, but I do think government has a place in the equation.  I also think that people like you and me are bigger pieces in the complex equation. The government can pass laws and outlaw this and mandate that, but they can only go so far.

We are the people in the trenches of life, rooting for each other, caring for each other, feeding each other when a baby is born or a parent dies or someone needs surgery. We are the parents raising kids in a violent, uncertain, stunningly fabulous world with mums blooming and free wifi everywhere. We are the people helping a stranger get the car out of the ditch or organizing the bake sale to raise money for someone's cancer treatment. We are the teachers and volunteers and election officials.

So. Your people won or lost. Either way, we don't get to be jerks. Our job remains the same.

not surprisingly, Anne Lamott said it best
We still have to love our neighbors. Even if they voted (fill in the blank of whatever you hate). We still have to clothe and feed the hungry. Even if it's against the law in Fort Lauderdale. We still have to be God's love right here on this broken earth. Even to the people who make us really, really, REALLY irate. (pssst. especially to them. Ugh. I know. I hate that sometimes.)

As much as we all just love to talk politics on the internet and while studies show that people change their political party affiliation due to Facebook rants a whopping .002% of the time (no actual study, just sarcasm), let's remember the human being sitting behind the computer in Sacramento, CA and Des Moines, Iowa. Let's remember that love is stronger than hate. Let's remember that strong loving families in strong, caring neighborhoods produce the leaders of the future. Let's remember our seemingly small, yet important role in making this country and this world better.

Let's not be cowardly, but let's be kind. Let's be love. Right here on earth. In our neighborhoods and in our schools, in our jobs and on social media. Even during election season.
Bob Goff in his book, Love Does
How do you handle political discussions on social media? Ignore? Respectfully jump in? Lose your temper now and again?

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