Voice

It’s been a long week for half of the country.  I believe there is an obvious uncertainty in our future because the president-elect has no political history to inform my confidence in him as a leader and feel secure in his ability to lead.  Perhaps, others find security in the uncertainty because it is different from the political leadership and discourse of the last decade.  Either way, the current focus of our political climate is feelings, beliefs and concerns based on the verbal communication and business history of the president-elect.  These artifacts are the only pieces of information we have to engage in discourse, therefore, these items are the ones being discussed and voiced.  I have struggled to articulate my sadness and grief with this election.  How do I voice my opinions and concerns while continuing to love ALL other human beings? How do I use my voice to bolster our nation rather than tear down individuals?  How do I continue to communicate love and empathy and commune with others when my spirit and country are torn apart?

Personally, I have spent most of the week numb… from shock to anger, from sorrow to sadness, from grief to resignation.  I have read articles, viewed memes, discussed opinions and listened to snippets of shows, newscasts and people’s rants.  The most powerful, positive piece I recently heard was from Trevor Noah on the Daily Show.  He stated that the people in Middle America have now shared their voice.  What did they say?  They want change.  Trevor noted that in small rural towns, the option to protest and march with friends and family on the streets is not necessarily the most viable option.  Smaller, rural communities face different issues and have different vocal outlets than urban and suburban voters.  So, I believe, rural communities raised their voice through the national election to say they are unhappy with what is happening in their community and nation.  They used the national election as a platform to voice their opinion, and, thus, they were heard.  Whether I agree or disagree with the outcome of the election, I am proud that the people in rural America found and used their voice to engage in a national discourse. 

They were heard. 

Now…

Urban and rural voters:  How do we work together to create one united voice that promotes humanity and builds community in our homes and across the nation?

As an educator and mother, I believe the only way to make real change is through education.  Our educational system HAS TO include the history of all our citizens.  I know OUR country’s history started thousands of years ago, not hundreds.  I know that women and minorities had to fight for the right to vote AFTER white men created the voting system and AFTER white men colonized America.  I know that I can only experience an –ISM (racism, sexism, heterosexism, etc.) if I am in the minority.  Therefore, everyone has biases.  Biases are based on life experiences, the community in which we were raised and familial traditions. THESE experiences inform beliefs.  As an able-bodied, white female, I know I am privileged.  I know I can’t name it all the time, but I try.  I know my movement through the world is extremely different than by brothers and sisters of color, different sexual orientations and physical able-ness.  ALL experiences are true and valid.  The question is how we use these experiences to inform our personal decisions and opinions. 

So…

How do I build upon my life experiences to broaden my understanding of others, specifically those who are different from myself? 

I know LEARNING is at the core.   I want to help move the discourse of our country from ‘political correctness’ to the idea of ‘social responsibility.’   I know that positive, diverse and inclusive education NEEDS to happen so that our national discourse is based in love.   The truth is that humans seek to understand, and, education provides understanding.  Let's work together to understand one another; to find our strength and security in our unity.  We are one because we are humans.  Let's not forget our humanity.

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” ~ Fred DeVito