I remember this time, last week. I was really excited for this week. The election would finally be over and we could all go back to our regularly scheduled programming. I thought I’d be able to open up Facebook and see pictures of my long lost friends’ weddings and children. I’d check out the new holiday themed leggings from LulaRoe, maybe find some fun family adventure in our locality to jaunt off to this weekend.
When Trump won the election, I was utterly shocked. On Wednesday morning, I made my coffee, got the kids settled with cereal, and opened up Facebook…knowing I’d see some interesting reactions to our President-Elect.
Unfortunately, I’m flabbergasted by the disgraceful behavior of my fellow Americans. I understand anger and frustration. But if being a mother of two children under 5 has taught me anything, it’s that when everyone is screaming incoherently at each other, no one can even hear themselves think, let alone hear what they are saying to another person.
Clearly, Americans have been glued to the edge of their seats, anticipating our next Commander in Chief. It has been an ugly race to the White House. Neither Candidate had a glowing record of diplomacy, integrity, patriotism, or respect for the position they fought for. The election has consumed so much of our time and energy, and now that it’s over, we’re not really quite sure what to do with ourselves. It’s like the end of Christmas….such excitement and joy heading into the event. You’re really looking forward to spending time with your #1 peeps, then suddenly the party’s over. You drunk texted someone you shouldn’t have, spilled wine on your grandmother’s cat, and you really don’t feel like dealing with the mess of taking down the decorations.
I mean, really. What are we all going to do with our time now that the election is over? We certainly can’t talk about this election any more than we already have…I’m pretty sure we’ve all said what we’ve needed to say (no matter who you voted for). I’ve come up with some fun ideas, and I’d love to hear more! Here we go!
Holy guacamole! Excuse my language…but the shit people will say to someone else for having a difference of opinion! And I’m directing that Mom Voice to Republicans and Democrats. Would your words be so viscious if the person was sitting in front of you? If so, then maybe you need to re-evaluate where the hate lives in your own life before casting it onto others. We’ve become so glued to our keyboards, furiously typing our heated debates without a second thought as to how this argument is going to damage your relationships with people you’ve categorized as “Friends” on social media.
Don’t forget: Once upon a time, in a faraway land called 15 years ago, many people identifying as “Americans” didn’t have social media to express every Dear Diary moment to. If they wanted to feel connected to the world, they went outside, where they had a good time with friends. Real ones. In person.
If Facebook or high school taught us anything, it’s that half-truths and total bullshit can spread like wildfire. The negativity in your News Feed can be consuming and if you’re not careful, you’ll take that negativity with you into the rest of your day. Say what you want about people being exclusive, but no one wants to hang out with a Negative Nancy, and bringing down the whole group with your piss poor attitude is exactly what a Negative Nancy does. You’ll find that when you surround yourself with positivity, you may be able to overloook the ignorance of strangers, rather than lash out at them through a comment on Facebook.
If America’s Presidential Election has taught us anything, it’s that there are a lot of people who could use a helping hand in our country. We can’t demand change from our elected officials if we ourselves are not willing to put work into changing ourselves. If you or someone you care about has been victimized or you want to take a stand on one of the many issues plaguing our country, I encourage you to get to work. Find a group of like-minded individuals that you can volunteer with. Another Mom Voice moment: If you don’t want to be part of the problem, then start being part of the solution.
And the fact of the matter is that the solutions people demand for the problems America has to address are not ones that will magically appear overnight. Change and progress take time. Put your passion where it belongs and be a part of the compromise that everyone can benefit from.
At one point in time, journalism held a reverence for the unbiased, transparent truth in an effort to educate and inform the reader. Such is not the case in our current day. With all the hyperbolic, sensationalist reporting shamelessly parading itself as broadcast journalism, it is no wonder our emotions are running rampant over our common sense. We are more concerned with being the first person to post the next big outrage than we are about wading through the bullshit and uncovering the honest to God truth.
Truth is what journalism is supposed to be about, not cable ratings.
Instead of bitching about the latest injustice on social media (see #1), hit the books. Spend time reading up on the laws and do some research on these causes before lashing out. Reach out and discuss the issue face to face with someone who may have more information than you do. Knowledge is power and it’s something no one can take away from you, no matter who resides in the White House.
4.) Practice kindness.
One of the campaign commercials that bothered me the most was put out by the Hillary Clinton campaign. It featured children watching the news, and replayed the worst of Trump’s mistakes on the campaign trail. I hate hearing those awful quotes from our now President-elect, but I also hate that the opposition chose to air it again and again on channels my children watched. Yes, my kids were watching…that commercial. It didn’t make me want to vote for Hillary. But it did make me turn off the television.
It’s time to start practicing what we preach. When we want someone to show forgiveness, we must also learn how to forgive. When we want someone to listen to our perspective, we must also listen to theirs. Unfortunately, we’ve been inundated with so much violence and hate speech, that it’s difficult to think of being kind when kindness is needed.
But the Hillary commercial was right about one thing…our children are watching, and they’re going to watch their parents’ treatment of others long before they’re exposed to the President’s behavior. So hold the door for someone at the convenience store. Say something nice to the person who seems to be having a really bad day. It costs nothing to be kind to another human being, and isn’t that the message you want your behavior to demonstrate to your children? Kids are more likely to emulate their parents’ behavior more than they will our country’s President.
5.) Have faith.
I am the proud wife of a police officer. The Husband spent his early 20s serving as an MP for the United States Army, and upon discharging from service, he promptly started a career as a Detective. He is now a uniformed Lieutenant. When people started ambushing police officers at gas stations and in their patrol cars, The Husband started wearing civilian clothes to and from work, since you never know who will see an officer and uniform and decide to open fire.
When the phone rings and he tells me he’s going to be late, I don’t ask questions about what’s going on. There’s no time. I tell him I love him, I tell him to be safe, and I tell him there’s a dinner waiting for him when he gets home. I’m asked “how I do it.” It’s not hard. I have faith that he’s coming home. I say up a prayer for Jesus to protect him, protect all the officers, and pray they all come home to their families.
If we stop having faith that the world can get better, we might as well throw in the towel altogether. We, the human race, is a work in progress, and I have faith that we will get through this turmoil in our nation and we’ll end up being better for it. Just as I put my faith in my husband coming home at night, I put my faith in America and the ideals it’s built on that we will get through these dark times in our history.
So do whatever you have to in order to muster up some faith for a brighter day. Pray to whatever God you choose, meditate on it…whatever, but don’t lose faith that we are still the greatest country in the world. Have faith that the Constitution is bigger than Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.