The United States. My country. My heartbreak.
It’s been a difficult week for a lot of people. We continue to see the divide in our country grow. We’re not talking; we’re posting on social media. It’s snippets and soundbites, not dialogue and compassion. We’re being “led” by those who don’t seek to unite but rather do all they can to divide us further. Trump, the GOP, and the Democrats will be the unraveling of this country. But average Americans won’t be. We’ll fight, like we always have since the beginning of the republic, to uphold our freedoms and make this country united.
We are deeply flawed. We judge people based on race. We turn away those who are desperate to escape a hell we certainly helped to create. We have stripped children away from their parents at one of their most vulnerable times. We are unkind and unloving to our LGBTQIA sisters and brothers. We mistreat women, the creators of us all. We don’t listen to the stories of these people.
Yet I cling to hope. I cling to the belief that we do bend “towards justice” (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.). I try every day to lead a life that I believe exemplifies Christianity. I try to love my neighbor. I seek to understand others. I’m far from perfect. I call myself out regularly. Others have called me out.
I firmly believe that we must seek to embrace and help “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” (Emma Lazarus). I firmly believe Black Lives Matter. I firmly believe women deserve autonomy over their bodies and livelihood. I firmly believe families belong together. I firmly believe we must believe survivors. I firmly believe in equal rights for LGBTQIA friends. Do I understand how people can vote (what feels like) against those things? No. Am I willing to listen? I'll always try.
It’s been a difficult week for a lot of people. Many people in this country are feeling marginalized, frustrated, or saddened. But we must rise up. We must listen to our neighbors. We must love our neighbors whether they wear a red hat or are rooting for a blue wave. We must overcome: overcome our leadership that continually fails to unite us, the leadership that thrives on our divide. We need to take the threats to our unity seriously. We need to strive for equality. We need to ensure our black and brown brothers and sisters live in a country that does not prioritize the comfort of white privilege over their very safety. We need to remember that for thousands of years, women have struggled to feel safe. Don’t “protect” me. Rather, call out misogyny. We need to remember it’s not a choice to be gay. It’s how someone was created. And we must remember we have created tragedy and heartache is many places of the world and we have a role in fixing that. We need to listen. Embrace. Live with compassion.
The United States. My country. My hope.