Human first, American second

I’m not feeling Three Things Thursday this week. Having been absorbed into election coverage, reactions, and getting over my own brief shock yesterday morning, I have a renewed sense of purpose and see an opportunity for us as American people to stand together. This country is divided, decidedly so, but what’s done is done and the 45th President has been selected through one of the last vestiges of democracy we have left in this country. We have spoken, loud and clear, that we’ve rejected mainstream media’s attempted manipulation of this year’s election. Almost all news leading up to the election proclaimed an almost certainty that Clinton would win, ignoring the level of anger and rage people have had building up across the country.

I have chosen to accept our next President despite the fact that I didn’t vote for him. He is deserving of the same level of respect and open-mindedness that I grant to everyone. While I do know quite a bit about Trump already, becoming the President is just about the biggest life change any one person can have. I’m skeptically hopeful that he realizes this and uses this opportunity to become the President that this country desperately needs and uses his position to guide the government so that the American people come first, not the socialist elites. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt that he won’t treat this like another reality show and media circus that his primary and campaign ultimately turned into.

I have chosen to be optimistic of our future for the sake of my daughter, who turns 10 next month. She has been asking a lot of questions about the election and has heard some really crazy statements from her friends at school. Some of the parents that I see and talk to on a regular basis have not been so optimistic and their children are feeling the negativity and anger of their parents without the context to completely understand. I took the time to sit down with my daughter and teach her about democracy and freedom in a way that she can understand and opened the dialogue for her to ask questions without fear of repercussions. We have had a few of these conversations with her friends over as well, and I’ve been careful and aware of the words that I use and how I explain things so that it’s heard without bias (not always easy). We have four years until the next Presidential election, it’s going to go a lot faster if we’re working together.

I have chosen to not be as opinionated when talking with people who already have strong opinions. I now understand that strong opinions often cause a knee-jerk reaction to dig your heels in and not listen to what is being discussed. My approach has been more subtle and fact based with sources cited as often as possible. I’m trying to encourage people to do their own research and start to understand the system that’s in place right now. You really can’t begin to change anything if you don’t understand it completely first, which is something that I’m still struggling with daily. Although I know a lot more now than I did 6 months ago, the system we currently have has been four decades in the making and mostly hidden behind mainstream media spin and misdirection.

This piece, written by a Canadian, is more American in spirit than how most Americans are their entire lives. It’s a call to arms to reject the hateful and disrespectful practices of the past and finally fight collectively for human rights. Human rights regardless of who, what, why, how we are. I have had a difficult time understanding how someone can be angry at someone else for something that happened before both their lifetimes. George Santayana said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” and it’s as true today as when it was originally spoken. We moved past British oppressive rule and created our own country in 1776. We ended slavery in 1865 and the Civil War ended. We survived the 1960’s and appeared to have moved past racism and hate in this country; we elected an African-American President in 2008. I’ve always treated others as I’ve liked to be treated, but am offended when I’m judged by others that don’t know me except for my external appearances. I don’t trivialize or dismiss the pasts atrocities and do not pretend to know what its like to live anyone elses life. Without civilized communication and mutual respect, we’re doomed to continue repeating past injustices.

The air is thick with anger. It’s up to us to come together and work through our differences once and for all. It’s up to us to figure out how to accept our differences because it’s the differences that make us stronger as a species on this planet. Let’s do this!

9 thoughts on “Human first, American second

  1. An excellent piece my friend….I have such conversations with my granddaughter, 13, she has her own opinions and we discuss a lot of stuff….I agree it is time to re-group and do the work that will put the US back on track to be the best it can be…I too have accepted our new prez….I am an opinionated SOB and too old to change but I look at things with a logical eye and write what I see….kudos on the great post….chuq

  2. Your suggested approach is both reasonable and well thought out. But I am wondering if it might not take some time yet for America to listen to the voice of reason. We are a nation condiditioned to getting what we want, to getting it all and to getting it immediately. There is much ingrained impatience in the land and it has all been brought about by convenience and abundance.

    What will Trump do? —- I have a sneaking suspicion …. call it a hope …. that the Trump in office will be different than the Trump on the stump. I think he did what he thought he had to do to get where he is and I think the whole campaign was masterful marketing and showmanship marketing the Trump brand … and it worked.

    I am waiting like all others to see what happens.

    In the meantime however, your approach to things is ordered, reasonable, wise and intelligent and I am sure your children will benefit a lot from your guidance. I think I just understated that and if I did I apologize. You sound to me like a model parent. There is an old saying, “Raise the children up in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it.” From the sound of what you are saying here, I think you are right on track. I admire you for the approach you have outlined here.

  3. Oh I do hope you are right… we wait to see… I do worry that, as happened after the brexit vote here, you will see an increase in hate crimes; I hope that many Americans will be prepared to stand up and support anyone being attacked by the minority who will consider their racist/sexist/fascist/supremacist views vindicated by this Trump victory. The hate seems to have declined in the UK over the months, but there are still those spouting their vitriol and it is deeply disturbing.

  4. I will be as respectful to The Donald as he is to other people. Should he continue with his hate speech, then I will reflect vitriol back at him. IF however he chooses a different path and becomes a more reasonable person I will do the same. It seems to me that he sets the tone of the conversation, so it’s up to him which way things go.

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