I don’t need to tell you guys that America has had a difficult and divisive week. It’s all over the news. It’s all over social media. Just try to get to the office water cooler without hearing something terrible come out of someone’s mouth this week. I dare you.
Like many Americans I have had a roller coaster week in the wake of the election – the highs believing America might have it’s first female president, the lows of watching peaceful protests devolve into riots. Like many bloggers I feel the need to comment on the phenomenon that has occurred across our beloved country. After all, today we remember and thank our veterans for the very privilege to hold free elections and burn our flags and speak our minds.
I know there is good in America. I know there is good in all of us. Together. I want to take an opportunity to try to show the good in all of us, because right now it’s very hard to see.
I know there is good in every person that cast a vote in this presidential election, regardless of how they voted. They are good because they cared enough to vote when so many did not. They are good because they took the time to consider all the candidates and pick one that aligned with their conscience that they believed would further the progress of this great country.
I know there is good in every person that took to the streets this week to protest. They are good because they are seeking solidarity with like-minded individuals at a time when they feel marginalized and turning that energy into peaceful demonstration. I know there is good in them, even when their frustrations turned to violence and mob mentality. It is difficult to be a young person with so much fervor and no idea how to channel that in a world you feel is crumbling. They have the energy and the passion to be outraged, not complacent. Many are not even old enough to vote and they are involving themselves in the political system the only way they see how.
I know there is good in the police departments across our country. They are good because they answered the call to secure and protect our public freeways and city spaces despite the danger it presented to each officer. They are good because they let the protests progress peacefully as long as they could in a continued effort to build a partnership with their communities despite their personal or departmental political convictions. They are good because they were in enough danger to don riot gear and have bottles and fireworks and baseball bats hurled at them and stood their ground to protect innocent bystanders in the streets.
I know there is good in the commentators across our country. From the lowly bloggers like myself to the ministers with thousands of congregants to the television programs with millions of viewers. I know we all feel the need to say something about all this. I know many times our more colorful comments don’t come from a place of anger or disgust but a place of fear. That even the most vicious sounding rhetoric can come from a frightening feeling that we HAVE to convince people to see it our way or our world will end. Many of us are desperate. Desperate to find common ground with people. Desperate to say whatever it takes to get people on board with the side you believe is the ONLY way for our country to survive. They are good because they are a reminder that we have free speech in this nation and they bravely exercise it knowing there are people that will disagree and freely say so. They are good for making us think. For making us agree or disagree. For keeping the dialogue alive at a time when so many want to shut down and stop talking.
I know it is frightening right now no matter where you stand on the issues. Change is frightening, good or bad. People behaving under the influence of extremism on both sides is frightening. People not listening to each other or respecting each other and lashing out is frightening.
But I believe in us, America. I believe we have a future. I don’t know what that future looks like, but I believe we have been through difficult and divisive times before and come out better for it. It wasn’t easy then and it will not be easy this time either. But it is worth it. It is worth not giving up on each other just because we weren’t at our very best this week.
Let’s get back up, dust off the shock and the perhaps less than perfect reactions we had and try again next week.