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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

My Renaissance

After a long hiatus from blogging, and many false starts, I decided to post today.

It's rainy in SoCal, a strange day in that we usually see a steady temp of 70* and sunny, even this time of year. 

Trigger alert: This post is about politics. But, not all doom and gloom. I promise.

Perhaps it's the reason why I'm feeling reflective; nostalgic even. 

I spent a good part of the morning watching the funeral for George H.W. Bush. A president I didn't care much for, but a man who put his family first. 
And that, I can admire. 

It gave me pause. I read a lot of FaceBook posts showing respect, others not so much. I expected to see that and was a bit conflicted myself. 

I've spent a good amount of the past two years feeling pissed off and angry at the shape of this country.

But, this morning, watching the Bush family mourn while the Clintons, the Obamas and the Carters all paid their respects, sitting dignified; that gave me hope. A church filled with compassion and empathy for an American family, crossing party lines was evident.

Seeing trump sitting beside them, smug with arms crossed, seemingly half asleep~that didn't surprise me either. 

The election of 45 has me turned upside down and sideways. I've expressed this many times and in many ways, from displeasure to outright rage, mostly on social media, but also in person.

I've marched, joined groups, and written endlessly. I've found myself in debates with friends and complete strangers. I've felt a pit in my stomach, far too many times. 

The climate of our nation is different. It's one that has become so divisive, so hostile that hate crimes are up in massive numbers and we've forgotten how to love one another, in spite of our differences. We are no longer tolerant of intolerance, trading it for an us vs. them dictum. Violence is common. 

It's hard to function in this space. I don't like it, and I suspect most of you don't either. 

I think there are myriad of reasons as to why this has happened. But, hands down, I blame our current POTUS. 

His hate fueled rhetoric has stirred up something in nearly every American who's paying any sort of attention to the political climate in which we live. 

We've become reactionary. And, why wouldn't we? We have a president who behaves like a 2nd grader, slinging insults and name-calling as if someone took his ball from the playground. 

The office of the President of the United States has always been the most respected and important position in this nation. 

While we may not have liked or agreed with the men who came before him, I don't believe we lived in such tremendous fear that our own commander-in-chief would turn on us. 

I may be wrong, and this is strictly my opinion. Although, I also suspect (tee hee) that there may be a few out there who agree with me. 

I think we are yearning to get back to a place where our political differences don't manifest in utter disdain for one another. I think we are yearning for a time to connect with others, to hear their stories and share conversations. I think we are yearning to communicate effectively, and build bridges rather than break them down. 

It's no secret that I am passionate about my beliefs. If you know me personally, well, you just know. But, I think many of us, myself included, have been misrepresented and quite frankly, misunderstood. 

My ideologies have been, and will always be about what is best for the collective whole; my motivation altruistic. 

In the midst of this chaos, there has been an awakening. There have been groups of people who had become complacent, their activist fire lit again...myself included. 
I've marched, and will march again. I have donated to organizations like Planned Parenthood. 
I've shared important news stories and shed light on topics that needed to be seen. 

There was a wave...a BLUE wave in Orange County, a once deeply republican seat in SoCal, turned upside down and flipped, sending a clear message:
People voted in favor of change. That gave me hope. 

This is the basic definition of politics:

The activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.

But, what I keep arguing is that politics are more than abstract ideas that affect the governance of a particular area (state or country). Politics are policies that affect people. The old adage that we shouldn't discuss politics or religion just doesn't hold water any longer. Why? Because these "politics" are what dictate our rights and freedoms. 
They control money, jobs, our climate, healthcare, civil rights--Pretty much everything under the sun. 

When someone says, "I don't discuss politics," it seems to me a few things are happening: 

1) They exist in a privileged place where they are seemingly unaffected -the system is working for them.
2) They are so uncomfortable at the notion of examining the disparity and inequalities among people throughout this country, and perhaps even embarrassed by that concept, they don't want to discuss it.
3) They lack a fundamental understanding of our political issues. 

But, the effect of refusing to discuss politics might save relationships, but it certainly doesn't effect change. We all have a horse in this race. 

I've lost friends, and even some family over my stance. But, I remain hopeful that those who see me as an adversary will understand that I am standing up for everyone, even them. Because in my heart of hearts, I do believe in the goodness of human kindness. 

I believe there are far more good people in the world, than bad. 

I believe that flaws and scars are what teach us the greatest lessons, and that it's crucial to remember that everyone has a story, if we can all pause long enough to listen.

I'm doing my best to start listening again. I'm leading with a compassionate and mindful heart. I'm working toward getting the anger and frustration to shift to a positive, creating a much more effective tool for change.  

Some days are a bit harder than others. 

One of my idols, a purveyor of peace, Martin Luther King, Jr., who led with determination and grace in the face of adversity, offered us this message, 

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

I hope I will be judged by the content of my character, as I hope we all we be given that grace. 

As this year closes and a new one begins, I will remind myself to walk in this space, and to emulate the tenets of Dr. King where compassion, patience and peace are at the forefront.  

And, I plan to return to my stay tuned. 2019 is my renaissance of writing.

Cheers to all~and Happy Holidays.