Understanding is the nature of love.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
I’m waking up, still very slowly, to realize we are most likely going to have a President who is openly racist and sexist. I didn’t talk politics on here before because I thought there was absolutely no way someone like Trump could be our President. Wow, do I live in a bubble. My husband kept telling me, Jen, more people agree with him than you think. Jen, just be prepared: not everyone thinks the way you think. And I kept telling him, you’re crazy. No way in hell would someone vote for the man who was endorsed by the KKK.
Yep, and it happened. Endorsed by the KKK, that’s the man who will most likely be our next President, unless we can get it stopped. Can you believe it? I still cannot.
And I still cannot believe that a vote is not a vote. That my vote does not count, and that over 638,000 (as of this writing, according to the NY Times) of my fellow Americans’ votes do not count. That is unacceptable. That is not freedom.
So I’m still fighting, and I will continue to do so. You have to work hard for what you want in life.
But I am also going to change my mindset. Because I have to. Because I don’t know of another way to deal with this.
I’ve gotten used to looking up to our leaders. I’ve put my faith in them, especially these last 8 years. I absolutely love the Obamas. Are they perfect? Of course not, but they represent everything I admire: they are strong, they are fun, they love each other, they have a kind family, they are classy, well-spoken, well-rounded, hard working, determined, they stand up for the issues I am passionate about. They are still politicians, I get that. But I look up to them, and I am more than honored to have had them lead our country.
And so now, I have to change my mindset. And that is damn hard. But I have to realize, this is not the country I thought it was. And these leaders that somehow get elected, outside of popular vote, I don’t have to look up to them. They don’t have an impact on my world. They can spew hatred and disgust. They can be bullies. They can be racist and sexist. They can have no clue what it’s like to be middle class, or to be poor. But I don’t have to go along with them. And I don’t have to allow that behavior anywhere in my life. I can continue to promote peace and acceptance with those around me.
That change, it has to start from me. I can’t expect everyone around me to agree with me. I can’t expect racism to just disappear, now more than ever. But I can still work to prevent it.
And I don’t have to listen to what’s going on in the White House. I can live my life, separate, and I can work to make sure my community stays safe for all races, all sexes, all beliefs, all religions, all ways of life.
I’m still angry, don’t get me wrong. I am going to be outraged for a long time, that’s just in my blood. My family raised me to stand up for what I believe in, to question everything, and to follow my passions. I am so grateful for that.
And I am grateful for my community here in Fort Worth, that I am surrounded by love. My yoga community, my family, my friends, the team of people my husband and I work with for our business, the people I teach in yoga, they all show up with love. They show up with open arms. They are all genders, all races, all backgrounds, all incomes, all ages, lesbians, gay, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Buddhists. They are my community. And I love and respect my community, and I will work to help it grow. I will work to continue this sharing of love, and to pass on the importance of acceptance, of understanding.
I started this post with a quote that I have been referencing a lot this year, because this year has been tragic, and I’m not talking about the election. When you go through hell and back, when you are faced with fears and angers, when you are shaken to your core, you are only given one option: to understand. Understanding is the start. I don’t know why people do the things they do. I don’t know what people are going through. But I can listen, and I can love, and I can understand, and not judge.
And so that is how I will go on, from here on out. I don’t judge you for voting for Trump. Clearly there are things in him that I don’t see, that you think are strong. And I hope some of those come out.
Most importantly, though, I hope he shows some understanding. I hope he apologizes for all he has said, for all the hatred that has spewed out of his mouth for decades. I hope he embraces all races and sexes and all ways of life with open arms. I hope he realizes why we as Americans are all so shocked, are all so outraged, are all so fearful that our country is taking a leap backward. I hope he sees his behavior is not appropriate, and I hope he begins to show acceptance. I hope he begins to work on his emotional intelligence, on his empathy, on his use of language. I hope he denounces the KKK and denounces hate.
I don’t see that happening, but I can hope.
And I will not look up to him until those things begin. Unless those things begin, I will continue to live my life with my new mindset: I don’t have to look up to you. You are not the type of person I will ever look up to.
I hope that our Electoral College does not vote him in on December 19. That is the purpose of the Electoral College: to be the decider, to ensure our leaders are qualified. This man is certainly not qualified. I hope they don’t ignore his hatred. I hope they see how tragic this is for our country.
But again, I must realize, not everyone sees the way I see. I have to understand that. But this is something I will continue to work for, I will continue to talk about, I will continue to reach out to the people who might have a chance in getting this decision stopped. I still have hope.