A full blown Category 5 political storm overtook America this year. It caused emotional, moral, psychological and even physical havoc! Homes and communities have been ripped asunder in the face of gale force winds called fear, distrust, anger, opinion and rhetoric. Flying debris from constant scandals [real and manufactured] caused serious injury. Double downed pride and rampant disrespect among major party candidates and political leadership across the board created an ever increasing climate of stress and suffocation.
And now, the election that this dreadful storm was all leading up to has finally blown over, and we are left to survey its aftermath.
The outcome of this tempest was something no one predicted, nor honestly expected. Perhaps the most surprised is the victor himself.
Like Dorothy, America woke up Wednesday morning with a killer headache. We stumbled for an exit, opened the door, and found ourselves gazing out on a new uncharted land.
If you’re like me, then you are still feeling dizzy, disoriented, and sick to your stomach. What happened, where am I, what do I do now?
But, others are already dancing in the technicolor streets and singing along to the munchkin victory song.
While some are longing to go home, others are thrilled to cast off the shackles of the past.
It’s all about perspective.
The script for the next scene, and the journey ahead, has yet to be written. Only two things are certain.
- Like it or not, we are now in Oz.
- We are definitely going to have some kind of adventure.
My Five Thoughts For Moving Forward:
1. Being an American is not for the faint of heart
I’ve been hearing many say that this election is the worst “storm” in history. They don’t think our country will ever survive such a horrific election. But, as dismal as it feels, we should not forget all the past storms we have weathered successfully together as a nation over the past 220 years.
America, take heart!
No one said it would be easy, but it is definitely worth it. Just take a glance at those history books – you know the big dusty tomes on the bottom of your shelf … oh… you donated them in the last charity drive? Well, then, better dust off your Google or Wiki of “American History” for a reminder why we deserve a little more street cred! Look at where we started – and notice how far we have come. I mean, literally. Remember Colonial pre-America? We were governed by a foreign power. We were suffering under staggering taxes. We had no freedom of speech, no right of assembly, limited ‘freedom’ of religion. Many also had inadequate food, clothing and shelter. We were continually afflicted with all manner of illnesses and plagues.
The point is, we weren’t supposed to exist as a sovereign country, let alone were we expected to survive after that fateful day – July 4, 1776 – when we took our cataclysmic leap into the void, daring to declare Independence.
Those who signed that declaration knew that their action would be considered an act of high treason, with penalty of death. But, they were willing to reject fear, and stand up with hearts filled with faith and courage to defend liberty.
Those signatures represent the very first votes cast on American soil. The price for those votes was steep. It led to riots in the streets, occupation, embargo, and even our first war on home soil. And yet, those who cast their vote for freedom never regretted their choice. Today, they are hailed as heroes.
Yes, the odds have always been stacked against us,. There have been many who have questioned whether we would survive, and predicted our failure.
Yet, despite it all – our ‘doomed’ Revolution, a catastrophic Civil War, multiple battles on foreign shores, wading through deep depressions and recessions, famines, pestilence, slavery, civil unrest, countless injustices and uprisings – we have overcome it all, together.
And we have continued on.
That’s pretty darn amazing. I think it’s inspiring.
So, as bleak as things may appear right now, what we have been experiencing is simply part of our ‘Presidential birthing process’. As long, painful, impossible, exhausting, and messy this gestation and labor has been – you did it, America! You got through it! Now, just rest a minute, and keep breathing.
2. We Aren’t In This Alone
Our next door neighbors noticed how exhausted we look lately, and recognized the hard time we are going through. So, they started sending little notes of encouragement – a bit like dropping off social “casseroles” on our virtual doorstep as a show of support. ♥
Seriously, isn’t that the sweetest thing?!
We love you too, Canada. ♥
[okay, I’m sorry some people loved you too much, and crashed your immigration page]
The truth is, the entire world is looking to America right now – for better or worse. They have been watching and waiting right along with all of us for the outcome of our storm. We are a world family, after all. Our decisions, prosperity, safety and happiness – or lack thereof – effect them. They want us to succeed. The vast majority of them are praying that we succeed. Our American experiment has always been much bigger than just us. [don’t forget it!]. And, although this knowledge rightly should add another layer of pressure on our nation, it also should add a deep blanket of hope and confidence. All our labor and effort to do the right thing, keep trying and keep going is worth it, and can bring untold rewards to this earth.
3. We Must Reject Fear and anyone selling it.
Now, there have been a lot of voices selling us fear during this tumultuous time of our lives. They told us to fear change. They told us to fear staying the same. They told us to fear people who looked/acted/believed/felt differently than us. They told us to fear each other. They told us to fear ourselves.
As a wise human once said, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
Or, in other words, there is way too much GOOD about this country, and this world, and all the beauty in it, and all the people who live in it to choose to crumble into pieces and vote against it. Fear will never take you anywhere safe.
Thankfully, this year I did not attempt to choose between the “Lesser of Fears”. In the middle of the raging wind, I was able to choose a candidate who inspired Faith. A voice of reason, clarity and hope. A man who offered fellow American’s another choice, a better choice, to stand on higher ground. I blogged previously about Evan McMullin’s candidacy, and my admiration for him to step up and defend the American dream in the face of danger. Just as those early dissenters in July 1776, McMullin demanded that the rights of all Men and Women, given by their Creator, must be protected. He was willing to sacrifice his career, his reputation, his privacy, and even his own life as necessary to defend “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for ALL. That deserves respect.
Nope, sadly Evan McMullin did not become our 45th President. He acknowledged from the beginning his chance was slim. And, as much as his supporters would have loved a “hail Mary” miracle, we knew that our vote was not about getting a “prize” in the contest. Our vote was an endorsement of a person who we believed would be the best leader, and a vote for the ideals that he represented. We chose principles over party. We chose to hope for a brighter future in the years ahead.
In the end, America got a different President. Like I say, perhaps no one is more surprised at this outcome than Donald J. Trump himself. We all know he loved the pomp and circumstance of his campaign. But, how will he handle actually having to do the WORK that the job of the White House requires? Only time will tell. No doubt he is going to be scrutinized every move he makes and every breath he takes. As well he should. Because he works for us now. We, the People.
We have some serious new storms ahead. We face International crises [ISIS, terrorism, refugees, dictatorships, nuclear threats, war], and Domestic crises [economics, jobs, crime, racism, climate change, education, civil unrest] And, what will happen with those supreme court nominees? Only time will tell. But We The People have the POWER to make our voices heard as long as we keep believing in ourselves. Maybe this election has created a renewed public dialogue where people will be more actively involved in the political process? Maybe more letters and phone calls will be made to Congressmen, petitions will be organized and signed, blog posts and letters to the editor will be published? Maybe more people will be going to the polls to vote for their local, state and national representatives, and there will be a revival of attendance at local caucus meetings?
That kind of outcome would make enduring the entire storm worthwhile.
4. Choose Love At Home
Meanwhile, what we really need in this country is a return to common ground. A place where we can all have a voice, feel safe, and be validated. A return to the ideals that our nation was founded on. Equality. Liberty. The Pursuit of Happiness. It begins in our homes. It starts with how we choose to teach our children, and treat the people we interact with in our daily lives. One by one.
This is also the time and place where people like Evan McMullin, Mindy Finn and others will make a big difference. People dedicated to the true cause of America, the principles that have sustained our nation and given light to the world. They will be building a movement that empowers our people in a positive direction.
5. Pause, Breathe, Love
Here’s a little advice from the most delightful President of our time. 🙂
It is time to acknowledge that we each are looking at our current situation from very different vantage points. Each perspective is valid. Quite frankly, despite all our differences, we really need each other. So, let’s just keep breathing. In. Out. In. Out. Slow it down, and really breathe. (like that one song, and that other song, or this song), and most of all, let’s Keep Being Awesome!
I still believe in you, America.
The storm is over. It’s time to rebuild what’s been torn down, repair what’s been damaged, and redress the wounds. Let’s cautiously, yet optimistically step forward, and “ease on down” this new gold plated yellow brick road together. And, I think we might wanna hold hands, because from my perspective, it looks like it’s going to be a little slippery. – MoSop