It’s inauguration day. That’s a pretty big deal, I think we can all agree. But, this one feels different. And, y’all, I normally don’t delve into politics because I just prefer to steer clear of that in general conversation, but, at the same time, today I feel like I should say something.
Here’s the deal – we (as a family) have family and friends on both sides of the aisle. There are also those too, like Mickey and me, who really didn’t feel that we had a candidate in the race. What do you do when THAT happens? Well, what he and I did was prayerfully consider the options presented to us and vote along the lines of policy that we find to be of major importance to us. I have been eligible to vote more than half my life now and I have been on both sides of the outcome. To be frank, more often than not, I’ve been on the disappointed side. This time? I didn’t truly feel like I had a side. This election I went to cast my vote more out of an obligation to the duty than with a sense of anticipation. Still, I believe in honoring the privilege to vote and I do so knowing that whatever the outcome, I am called to honor and pray for our leaders. That is what I did and will do. Always. (I can’t even believe I’m sharing all this because I do NOT get political in public forums, but this has been on my heart so much.)
This election cycle can be summed up in one word – divisive. In my life, I don’t recall elections ever resulting in so much emotional turmoil on either side. Maybe it’s due in part to social media being a bigger presence in our lives, I don’t know, I just know that it’s been difficult. And that is putting it mildly, to be sure. The culmination of this cycle seems to be this very day. Today is basically a “no turning back now” day, it seems. And, I see emotions running all over the place. I wish we could find a common ground and maybe that day is coming. Do I think we are all going to always agree? No, I don’t. To be very honest, I don’t even want that. It’s not that I don’t want to us to have harmony, but I just realize that as long as we are all wired as beautifully different as we are, we are never going to all agree on every single thing one hundred percent of the time. Thankfully, we don’t have to agree to get along. We don’t have to be on the same political spectrum to offer respect to others. I fully and completely get behind what Chip Gaines had to say in his New Years Revelation blog post earlier this year when he said “Disagreement is not the same thing as hate, don’t believe that lie.” I think there are some steps to getting to that place. I think that we have to be respectful even when disagreeing. No name calling, no insults of intelligence, no threats -just no.
It’s really not difficult to realize some basic truths here: everyone has their own opinion that they are entitled to, very seldom do people change their ideals and I very seriously doubt anyone ever changed their mind because of a social media rant, and agreeing to disagree CAN be done respectfully. I can sit here and say in full disclosure that I have family and friends with whom I do not have the exact same set of core values – political or otherwise. Guess what? That is absolutely okay. It’s more than okay – it’s the way things just are. Do I hate anyone? Absolutely NOT. Hate is a strong action word that demands time and attention to the negative and I have zero hate in my life. None. I have a right not to “like” other people’s opinions, but I do not have a right to push that thought off onto them anymore than they have a right to push their opposing thoughts and opinions onto me. Fortunately, I have mostly been met with respect and I offer that too. I am a far cry from anything that vaguely resembles perfect, but I can assure you that if you’re family or a friend or human, I’m not going to hate or even dislike you because of your politics. I may not vote for you if you’re running for office and have diametrically opposing views to mine, but, again, that’s not hate at all, but rather an expression of my own rights and feelings. Practicing hate would go against everything I believe in and I cannot condone or participate in such. I won’t. We don’t have to see eye-to-eye to be kind, that’s the bottom line for me.
Back to this day…
I know feelings are all over the place today. And I know that nothing I can say is going to change how you feel about this day. I get it. As I struggled for what to say today, I came across what a friend had shared from Instagram and I decided this would be not only be my prayer for today, but also my SHARE for today:
This day, y’all. The tone of today makes it feel like it’s too significant to just say NOTHING and too divided to say SOMETHING. If that makes any sense. I don’t suppose that I have any expertise to lend to this, but I have a heart for people and that’s why I decided to post on this inauguration day. As we go forward, my hope is that we can encourage the best in one another. Sometimes, we will find like-minded opinions and sometimes we will meet opposition, but I pray we can strive to meet them all with dignity and respect.