Monday, December 26, 2016

Living In A Post-Hope World

There's a lot of hate in the air since the election. Sadly, there's a lot in my house as well.

-I hate that my children had to keep asking me if I was OK because I randomly started crying every day right after the election was over;

-I hate that I have lost so much hope and optimism for myself and my family's future;

-I hate feeling afraid all the time, both for what this will mean for our nation as a whole and for everyone who is going to suffer under the new administration;

-I hate that the Electoral College effectively showed they didn't care that a person so completely unfit to lead our country is about to be handed power;

-I hate that more bad news about the people being hired for the administration comes out every day, and

-I hate that, although I need to look away for my own health and sanity, I struggle because when I do it feels like I'm ignoring the problem.

The new president-elect has effectively told the world that I suck at parenting. For seventeen years, I've been teaching my children to share, be kind, be respectful and earn respect through their own actions. I've taught them that 'hate' is a very strong and ugly word and we don't just throw it around (except maybe when talking about homework).

By electing a man who personifies and encourages all the behaviors I've told my children are unacceptable, my country has proven it's not the country I thought it was. It's not the world I thought I was preparing my children to live in. My America was the one where every parent taught their children these lessons, instilling in them and our society hope for a peaceful, respectful future full of possibility and problem solvers. Clearly I lived in a bubble. I hate that too.

My question to myself following this change is, what do I tell my children now? Now that a man who bullies others has been chosen to lead us all? Now, when they see other children on their school bus being teased, harassed or getting hateful comments thrown at them? Now, when the adults on the bus look the other way?

Our family is not one of color. My children are not female. We were all born here. This means that we are less likely to be targets of hate crimes. We are "safe". But really, we're not. Not when hatred and ugliness and a lack of civility and humanity surrounds us. Not when we no longer know who we can rely on to act as we do. My children are not bullies, but they need to be prepared to stand up to bullies now. Because they won't just be speaking up for themselves or even all children, but for all people--our friends and neighbors, their fellow classmates and even those they don't know.

I hate the uncertainty of our future.

I hate feeling disappointed in my country.

Most of all, I used to have hope for our society and its future, because we had leaders who were taking us in a positive, respectful direction. That's no longer the case. My hope is gone. I hate that I can't just "wait and see what happens" as people are telling me to do. I already see what's happening, and our new "leader" isn't even in office yet.

Hope has not served me well this year. 2017 will therefore be a year of action, in which I do my best to stamp out hate and maybe, maybe restore some hope.