Wednesday, November 9, 2016

On Pain and Politics

Tonight I lay in bed, my husband sleeping beside me, unable to comprehend sleep. My whole body is haunted by the pain I see reflected in my country. On both and every side of the political spectrum, I read posts that are seeping with tangible pain and fear.

To my friends on the right:
Please be patient with those of us who are disappointed by the results of the election. To us, each vote for Trump was personal, a voice saying, "I am okay with what Trump says about you as a person of color, a woman, a religious person, an immigrant, etc.". There was and is real fear that having a president with these beliefs will lead to wider acceptance and policy manifestations of these beliefs in a way that will directly threaten our safety. In that way each vote for Trump was a de-prioritization of our value as human beings.

To my friends on the left:
Please be slow to demonize and quick to empathize. Many Who voted for Trump were expressing pain that we have been sheltered from even acknowledging. Pain of direct threat to their livelihoods, their families' welfare because economic growth outside of metropolitan areas has been painfully slow. They felt abandoned for so long and in so many ways that they were willing to support a deeply flawed candidate who was finally campaigning to them, and not to you and your circle of friends who have been so well represented in the media.

I do not attempt to speak for all. I do not pretend that pain will be quickly erased on either side. I do believe it is possible to look past differences. To empathize with underlying fear if you can put aside your own line of thought. And I do believe we as a nation can use this election as a point of unity, growth, and as cheesy as it sounds, love.

So on a night like tonight, where I can do so little to ease the pain that I see, I focus on love. I place my hand on the chest of my sleeping husband, feeling his heartbeat. Inhaling and exhaling to that rhythm and letting that love ease my own pain, if only for a night.

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