I Just Didn’t Realize

I just didn’t realize.

I am writing this to you a week after our historical election.

My mind, body, heart and soul have gone on an epic journey over the past week…from incredible highs to excruciating lows.

It is so big,

so complicated,

and so important on so many levels, that I have found it difficult to find the words to adequately express how I truly do feel.

Let me try and explain what I have been struggling with.  I have been trying to understand…

– what happened to our system of governing?
– what the republican and democratic parties really stand for?
– why people voted for who they did?
– what Hillary’s loss means to and for me?
– what Trump’s win means to and for me…to all of us?
– what do I do now?

I have been struggling with all of these, and I am sure that I will be for a long time to come. Perhaps many of you are as well.

The truth is that I am not really a political person, I never have been.  And in many ways I am uninformed and ignorant about the complexity around the operations of our government and the condition of our entire country, I actually believe many of us are.

What I do know is that there is no one person, group, interest, business, or party to blame for where we stand today; despite that so many of us wish there were.

I wanted nothing more than to see Hillary win…to see the first woman break through the highest glass ceiling, to become the President of the United States.  While I don’t believe she was the absolute perfect candidate, I do believe she would have done her best to serve our country and all of its citizens, and she has the credentials, experience and intellect to do so.

I wanted nothing more to see Trump lose…to see what I consider a shameful example of a person that deserves to hold our country’s highest office prevented from sitting in the Oval Office.  He doesn’t stand for even one of the values I hold dear, and even if he did, his words, actions and behavior invalidate any good intentions that he could ever have. He has uncorked an anger, hostility and fear in so many that has shown its face in ugly, ugly ways…and I worry that he will never be able to bottle it back up, to truly move us forward, not back.

And yet, here we are.  The people have spoken, democracy has handed us our new President.

I was profoundly disappointed, in fact for a few days I felt overcome by fear, anger, and at moments a hopelessness that is not usually my go to emotion.

But I have decided to take time to deliberately and intentionally choose how I want to navigate this undesired outcome. After all, my children are watching me.  So I am trying…I am using every skill I have to find faith in who we are as a united people.

I have a fine line to walk…the fine line between standing powerfully against intolerance, hatred, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and all other persecution of those that are “different”, and finding a way to express my power and my voice in a way that honors democracy and puts me in a position to make a difference.  I want to be part of a solution, not the problem.  I want to bring people together, not divide. 

I have found that it is excruciatingly difficult to find this balance.

So I have decided that the first step is to do the work.

I am reading, studying and seeking out information so that I can better understand what happened,

better understand all sides of this experience,

and better understand the ways that I can be a part of protecting the values I hold dear.

As I have been researching and learning, I have come to learn that I just didn’t realize.

While I know how many people are struggling, suffering and feeling the profound effects of loss, I just didn’t realize how powerfully they would stand for a radical change.  There is clearly no more capacity to follow a democrat or republican, only a renegade would be acceptable to those who desperately need to have their lives changed.

And while I know that Hillary’s policies alone would have impacted far more of our citizens in a positive way, I just didn’t realize, but I should have, that these citizens have not been served or heard in a meaningful way for far, far too long.

The most important thing that I have realized, however, is that I have contributed to all of this.  I have not listened as much as I should have.  I have reacted, with good reason, to the offensive parts of the dialogue, but not been curious enough about what lay underneath.  I did not seek to understand, I simply sought to cease the conversation because the pain of understanding felt insurmountable.

Out of every challenge, crisis and adversity comes learning…learning that no one is immune to.

I just didn’t realize that we have all stopped listening and talking…and when we do, we have forgotten to do so in a kind, compassionate and curious manner.  The lack of decent discourse is a key cause of how we got to where we are, and unless we focus on rebuilding this skill, we will never move forward.

We cannot change where we are, but we can shape what happens next through our ability to listen,

through using our voice powerfully but kindly,

through taking action…advocating for the issues that matter most to us,

and through educating ourselves on how we can make a difference for all Americans.

I have identified the issues that matter most to me, and I plan to use my time, voice and resources to push them forward.

I hope you will join me in honoring Hillary’s words, together we are stronger.

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