Saturday, November 12, 2016

Support Others - It's More Important Now Than Ever

It's the first weekend in our new world. What are you going to be doing this weekend? Mine will be quite normal - work on Saturday, work on holiday cards while watching football on Sunday. But if I happen to go to a bar or restaurant, I'm quite sure the topic of conversation will be the election tempered by the personalities and the fears of each individual. The last item is the linchpin that will drive these next four years - fear.

Don't let fear rule your life, actions and reactions. Treat
people with kindness and respect and they, in turn, will
treat you similarly. 

Fear is what drove this election and fear is a powerful force. Fear of those who are different that ourselves and cause us to build mental and physical barriers creating lands of "me" and "others". Minorities are fearing attack crimes will go unreported and unpunished. Bigots who are already active, those who want a less inclusive and less welcoming society, seem to be feeling more comfortable as they contemplate actions of hatred against others.

The hijab is the head covering worn by many
Muslim women. It's purpose is to cover the hair. 

Already I've heard of young Muslim ladies having their hijabs pulled away from them, Gay, lesbian, transgender and other people who aren't the "norm" in the eyes some prejudiced turds, are feeling true fear as they go about their daily business. An acquaintance of mine, a talented young gay man with a rainbow sticker and a Hillary sticker on his vehicle, has already had "Faggot" yelled at him from the driver of a truck with a Trump/Pence sticker on the back. What was he doing? He was putting his groceries into his car. The safety pin movement that started after Brexit is beginning to take hold here, giving the bullied and frightened a safe place to turn for an instant ally. Wearing a safety pin is a start, but we need to convince ourselves and others that despite the changes in national policy, we still live in communities that welcome everyone we welcomed a week ago.

Do we need to be afraid to express our pride? 

This was a national election and it will change our world in a lot of ways. But we live in a trickle-down society and even though the Presidential brush is broad, the paint drips down in much smaller amounts to affect us on the regional and local levels. Did you vote for local candidates? Did you elect new representatives, senators, councilors or mayors? Did you vote for local judges or amendments and propositions? These are the people who will directly affect your lives every day. In many cases, we tend to re-elect familiar names so unless those people really messed up or decided to retire, the old guard is firmly in place.

Maybe we should all be putting these on our vehicles while
wearing safety pins in our lapels. Maybe our friends and
neighbors need to know they have allies and support. 

After the novelty wears off, after the 100-day mandate that every President seems to get, things will settle down. When we look back through the glasses of history, I hope that a lot of the hoopla will be viewed as overblown rhetoric that ended up being a lot of hot air. We just have to support each other and push away the hate until things settle down once again.

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