I am writing this on Friday morning. Joe Biden took the lead in Georgia overnight and Pennsylvania this morning. Therefore, I am fully admitting to feeling cautiously optimistic about his chances of winning the presidency. And yet, I have been aware all week and am aware this morning that Joe Biden winning this race is not the end-all be-all to the problems that have caused the challenges we are facing as a country. Do I believe that Donald Trump was the worst President in history? Yes, I do. Do I believe that he fanned the flames and gave permission for a lot of ignorance to flourish out in the open? Yes, I do. Will my sphincter relax the day he leaves office in a way that it hasn’t in 4 years? Most certainly so.
That being said, and like it or not, upwards of half of our nation was in support of him. And that doesn’t magically change the day Trump walks out of the White House. That feeling you had when it looked like Trump was going to win re-election, remember it. Because almost half of the country is feeling that still. And whether you agree or disagree with them, we are all a part of this country. I have worked with kids for a long time. I’ve got one of my own now. Not to mention that I am married. So conflict resolution is a part of my daily vocab. And if there is one thing I know to be fact about resolving conflict, it is that both sides must be a part of the solution. One side cannot dictate to another side how the resolution will happen. Nor can true and sustainable resolution be possible without respectful buy-in from both sides.
I can already hear the voices of my passionate Democratic friends saying, “Yea, but what about the bullshit of the past four yearsblahgblahblahblah!!!!!” I know. I get it. I have had to stomach that which offended me and those I care about. And my absolute first instinct if he wins is to dance in the streets and find every anti-Trump meme available to post and take my part in the jubilee! But there is an instinct that is brewing in me and it is strong as steel. The instinct is to do the opposite of what Trump has done for the past four years. The instinct is to use the coming four years to do all I can to support the healing of this divide and not add to it. This is our chance, friends, to be the change we wish to see. To promote the values we feel have been overlooked over the past four years. To truly and, dare I say, maturely take the high road. To take a look at whatever corner of the world you live in and try to bridge the local gap. I will start by going to the house up the street with all of the Trump flags in the front yard and knocking on the door. And introducing myself. And starting some dialogue, six feet apart, with whomever lives inside.
Not because I am so excited to hear the opposite of my views thrown back at me. Not because I am excited about the myriad of conspiracies and claims and lawsuits and unrest that will come before a true transition of power takes place. No, I will think this way and act upon these thoughts because I have a genuine interest in the future of this land. Because I want to live in a land where people talk. Especially if they disagree. I want to have pride in my country again for being the kind of place where freedoms are not used to hurt anyone or as an excuse for ignorance but as the fuel to take all of us to a higher place.
I have a beautiful glowing one-and-a-half-year-old reason to see past my frustrations of the last 4 years. To move past my glutinous instincts to push back at that which has felt to be pushing me. Beyond all of that temporary gratification, I want change. I’d settle for the very beginnings of true change. So many great movements are happening right now. Tiny fragile seeds of true reckoning for race, gender, sexuality, health, environment and so much more. If we can all try to calm down. Take a breath, and at least try to begin to hear one another. To develop our absolute ability to sit and disagree peacefully. Even respectfully. I have practiced this with a few dear friends who are on the “other side” and I am here to tell you, it is possible. Not easy, but possible. And the result is a connection of strength that goes beyond our political and ideological differences. More than my frustration with Trump over the past four years, I have been most saddened and disheartened by the state of the union. Joe Biden I will admit is by no means perfect, but I do believe possesses a good heart and a genuine ability to start to mend the divide on the hill and in the country. If he wins this race, I just want to encourage my friends of the Democratic persuasion to do all you can to lead by example. Online and in your day to day lives. There are so many things that we disagree about, but I hope the one thing we can agree upon is that the only way things get better, is if we work together. Cliché maybe, but true as trees nonetheless.
With love, weariness, and a genuine desire for community.