I grew up believing that The United States of America was the greatest country in the world. It felt strong and comforting to me, even as I navigated the rocky terrain of the women’s movement and fought for women’s rights. Thankfully, I did not grow up in a racist home, though, in reality, our neighborhood was white and I did not have much exposure to other cultures or races until I attended high school, then college. But, my parents were intelligent and bestowed me with the ability to look at people as people, not “different” people. Just people.
This past year, and the actual election night itself, exposed an America that is terrifying. We live in an America that doesn’t feel safe for more than half the population. As a woman, I have never had the luxury of feeling completely safe, except, perhaps, in my own home. That is not true for many people. There are people who NEVER feel safe, anywhere.
So much ugliness was exposed this past year. So much hate and so many people not minding that we saw and felt their hate. Not only not minding, they wanted us to see and feel their hate and the ugliness.
So now, what do we do? We are a divided nation, and we have to heal. We must make important decisions about how we will move forward in this strange world. I have spoken with many people about 2016, and people are scared and sad. Many women are very, very angry.
I think that sometimes anger can fuel us and help us to move forward. Yet, there are times where anger blinds us and may actually immobilize us. This is not the time to be immobilized. We need to use our strong feelings to make changes and move toward new goals without the anger blinding us. Anger, used properly, can be an amazing force. Actually, so can kindness.
So here we are, many people wondering what to do and how to feel better. There are so many people that feel 2016 was awful. There are many people hoping that it will turn out all right, but that won’t just happen magically. We need to take action to make sure that we don’t become an even weaker nation, with our claim to fame ignorance and racism.
In any emergency situation, the first step is to control the panic. In an emergency situation, cooler heads must prevail. Stifle the fear, use it for strength, and figure out the steps to take for survival.
I think that this is what we need to do now, individually and as a society. Turn the fear and anger into strong, powerful steps forward.
We are a divided nation, and I have never felt this to be truer than now. Groups divided, people’s illegal, immoral, frightening behavior exposed. It’s all right there for us to see. It is not a time to ignore this, but it is a time for us to heal, and take action. Look inward and think about what you have to do.
Personally, one step I know that I need to do is to educate myself. I have never been interested in politics, but I have a very clear sense of what is right and what is wrong. What is happening right now is wrong. More hate and anger will not help the situation. I must become more involved, because everything that happened happened on my watch. It happened on your watch, too.
I have been involved in righting wrongs for a while, but I know that I personally, will be stepping up my game. What will help is intelligent, thoughtful, powerful actions going forward.
In order to make changes, we each have to make some decisions. How do we use our power (and yes, we all have power) for good? What will you do in 2017?
What is Calling You? Artist: Kelly Rae Roberts