Okay, there are some things I need to say.
Everyone needs to calm down.
I have a confession and possibly some internal insight to share. The first election I voted in was in 1976 – Carter/Ford. I voted Republican and we all know how that turned out. I voted Republican in every election until Barack Obama ran. He ran on hope and change. I thought we needed change in a pretty big way, besides John McCain had pretty much lost his mind and Sarah Palin was his running mate. Yeah. I didn’t vote for either candidate this past Tuesday. I was informed when I went to the polls, I voted for every other representative and the state referendums but I broke into a sweat, felt a little dizzy and stayed in that booth for way longer than I should have. (I was the only one there and all of the poll takers know me, they must have wondered). I looked at the candidates (all of them) and thought I simply can’t do it. Do I regret it? No.
The other confession is I once believed social media to be a good thing. On the night of 9/11 the internet was really in its infancy. We had dial-up and chat rooms. Somehow I ended up in a chat room for the employees of Cantor Fitzgerald and there was a man pleading to hear from anyone he knew and worked with there. There was silence. It was the most powerful thing I’ve ever experienced – it made it real for me in a way that nothing else did.
Fast forward to the year 2016 and I can tell you that my circle of friends on social media has gotten much smaller. One of the reasons is politics, yes but the other is the things that are patently untrue that continue to circulate as truth. I confess that I can be a bit of a pain in the ass when it comes to this sort of thing calling stuff out and spending time on Snopes but is this really how I want to spend my time? I’ve also realized in the past few days that all it is doing is inciting anxiety and fear in everyone who faithfully (or obsessively) checks their status hour by hour. Yes, guilty as charged.
The day after the election was awful, two days after still bad. Today the armchair quarterbacking continues as we all try to come to grips with the election results and what it means.
Here’s the thing, we need to stop looking at the election of Donald Trump as the end, it’s not. We need to take a rest from this frenzy of posting at all (or reading). The friends and family that I have on social media are still people I care about but I need to be part of their lives in a different way. We need to gather our friends and neighbors together and build a community of help and service. Break bread together, have a game night, stop living in your home in isolation. Volunteer for anything that will help you to know someone new a little better. Person to person contact, have a real conversation. Yes, it may be about politics but it takes on new meaning when you talk to someone face to face. How many times have you sent an email or comment that someone took in a way that was not intended? You need to see a person’s body language or hear the inflection in their voice. Better yet look into their eyes.
Today I’ll work a little in my garden, weave a little and then prep to visit my grandson to help celebrate his first birthday. So many children have come into my life in the past couple of years. I think we owe it to them to help build a community that will support them without all of the anger. We are all better than this.