We’re going to start with a story and end with a reading list.
At some point in my childhood, I over heard a conversation between my mom and her mother. I don’t remember when, and I certainly don’t remember what they were discussing. All I remember is one of them turning to me afterwards and telling me that not choosing was making a choice.
I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. Not just in terms of politics and elections and the United States, but in terms of how I’m living my life. I’ve written before about how I don’t want to live passively, or out of fear, or from despair. What becomes us? Action.
I don’t want to live in a world where my friends feel their very identities and experiences completely dismissed by the leader of our nation.
It is absolutely no secret that I supported Hillary Clinton in this campaign, but I’m not here to argue why she should have won the presidency (and you know, did, by the popular vote). I’m also not here to yell at everyone who voted for Trump, whether I know them or not. In my experience, yelling at people tends to make them more likely to do exactly what you’re telling them not to do.
And that, I think, is the heart of the problem. Telling. Yes, this election was entirely vitriolic, and yes, we were steeped in it for well over a year, which was far too long. The primaries were bitter, and the election itself was even worse. But even the most vitriolic of campaign ads–and there were plenty on both sides–aren’t what I’m getting at here.
What I’m getting at is this: The moment we stop listening to those with different experiences and accept our own struggles as the only truth is the moment we lose the war.