Blind-sided, thunderstruck, ambushed, stunned, Â floored flummoxed. Â Just flattened. Â By what’s just happened in our country – no, not what Â just happened – what just surfaced.
As my genteel cousin put it, “Surely not?” Â Exactly. Â Surely we are not the people screaming racist epithets, intimidating Â children, advocating jail for our Â rivals. Â We are not the people that believe Â silencing thoseÂ who don’t look like us or believe like us will solveÂ our problems. Â We are not the people who obsessed on the media’s Â 24/7 shouting matches, while shaking our heads about the ugly campaign. Â We don’t Â riot
in the streets after an election and burn the President Elect in effigy.Â Â We can’t be those people. Â And yet we are.
Until November 9, I carefullyÂ sidesteppedÂ awkward social and political conversations. Â After all, everyone’s entitled to her/his own opinion, right? And what does it matter really? Â Things will go on pretty much as they always have no matter what I do, right? Â So why risk damaging a friendship, causing a ruckus. Why be “that” woman? Â IÂ really didn’t know what my friends, my neighbors, even some of my family, believed at a core level, Â didn’t really want to know, and Â didn’t Â share my own opinions.Â Â We Â coexisted; polite and superficial Â strangers under the skin. Â So when November 8 happened, weÂ were amazed to find out who was living next door, or even in our own house!
It’s pretty clear Â we don’t understand each other. Â Perhaps we don’t really understand ourselves. Â Â HopefullyÂ the 2016 electionÂ will inspire us to learn more about Â ourselves and our government and moreover, Â to become involved in our communities. Â We can learn to listen respectfully to each other with no other agenda. Â WeÂ can Â have discussions that don’t deteriorateÂ into Â shouting matches. Â Â Ideas thatÂ challenge us are healthy precisely because they make us uncomfortable. Â They stretch us and keepÂ us growing.
On the morning of November 9, I began Â a one woman listening campaign. I talkedÂ Â toÂ neighbors on my morning walk. Â I listened to Â members of my church, to my family, to Â my Facebook and Twitter friends. Â And I Â heard some surprising things. Â Some not easy for me to hear. Â But my friendships were not threatened. Â In fact, just the opposite. Â After all, we all want to have our voices heard.
I Â know the fluttering of the butterflyÂ wing in my tiny corner of the universe cannot influence world events. Â But just as one vote makes a difference, so does one honest conversation.
So let’s talk! Â Leave a comment. Â Â Tell us what theÂ 2016 election meant for you. Â Â Who knows? Â We might not be as far apart as we thought. Â At the very least, we are sure to learn more about ourÂ own beliefs.