I was on facebook today and someone I know posted a link to an article titled “Let the Record Show.” Before reading the article I read the comments (isn’t that always a mistake) and the very first one gave me a clear indication about what the author had to say. I knew without reading that the basis of his words could be defined by the hashtag #notmypresident. And I knew this because the comment in question said something along the lines of, “Stop whining. Get over it. You need to accept this.”
Every once in a while I get political on social media, I’ll share articles that align with my views, I’ll express frustration or disappointment at the things I do not stand for. I also like to throw in cute animals and music videos and uplifting quotes, if not for people reading, but for myself. Because sometimes the shit is too much. And today the shit is too much. But in a way that means I’m going to write.
If I support the March on Washington, if I talk about missing the Obamas, if I post about my fear of the new president, I am not whining. Perhaps if that’s all I ever did, if I only sat at the dinner table, laid in bed, texted friends, perhaps then I might be whining. But I showed up and marched in Asheville. I picked up the phone and called my senator. I sent postcards. I donated my money. I’m not whining, I’m taking action. Because I do not need to accept this. And if you’re reading this, and you support the new man in office, that is fine, I don’t understand it, but that is fine. I’m not writing this to change your mind. You’ve probably read enough shit that explains how scary I think he is. For whatever reason, you believe in this man, and you should stand by that. But I don’t believe in him. And you should let me stand by that. And if you don’t like what I say or I post, you can unfollow me. You can unfriend me. You can stop talking to me. But I hope you don’t. For the same reason I won’t abandon you. We need to keep our ears open to the other side of the argument.
I know there are people out there that feel like Democracy happened. We voted, and here he is, so that’s just how it is. But I don’t want my future children to ever believe that they have to lay down and accept things for the way they are. If I teach my children that, and you teach your children that, then our world will never change. Everything from this moment on will stay exactly the same. And I believe in progression. So I will teach them respect, and confidence, and pride, and compassion and strength. I will tell them to fight for the kind of country they want to live in. But I can’t teach them these things if I submit to the way things are now. Because that makes me a hypocrite. And I want to try my best to avoid that (knowing full well that to some extent it will be inevitable).
If you look big picture, in the grand scheme of things, I am still a child at 26-years-old. I know very little about the world. I have barely lived. I haven’t birthed children, or adopted any, and I certainly haven’t raised any. So maybe in 10 years, 20 years, 40 years my thoughts will change. My beliefs will alter. I don’t discredit that possibility. It dawned on me when I was marching through the streets of Asheville, surrounded by frustrated yet empowered women, that something had changed in me a long time ago. I don’t remember when it happens, that you grow out of being a teenager, and stop seeing the world in black and white. But at 10am on a Saturday morning it occurred to me that over a decade ago, I was in a similar and yet completely different march, The March for Life. And at 21, after 15 some years of dating only boys, I discovered I could like girls too, and I let myself, and now I have a wife. I avoided politics and presidential debates like the plague and then this year I voted in my first election. Sometimes you see the world one way and then things happen, and you meet people and you hear their stories, and you watch the news, and you read books, and suddenly, you realize that there are shades of grey. And everything you ever learned in Catholic school tells you that you’re wrong but you can’t deny the truth you’ve seen and heard and felt.
I opened my eyes to the grey and my world flipped on its side. And I am a better person today because of that. I want to fight for the best world I believe in, and I know that idea of what is “good” may differ from person to person, but the fact that I’m not hiding in the shadows and staying silent should be revered, not shamed.
This is not a tantrum. This is a fight.
if you read all that, congratulations. here is a pile of puppies.