We Know Not What We Do, I Hope

Hello, dear readers and happy Monday! I know, I know, Mondays aren’t happy. Mondays are for being tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting to crawl back into bed.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s think of Mondays as a chance at a fresh start, every single week. Each Monday is our own personal reset button. Let’s take this opportunity to do it differently. Let’s make the changes we want to see in ourselves and the world, okay?

“No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.”

— Mary Wollstonecraft

I’ve been having a really hard time coping with the state of the people and politics here in the United State since the election. There are many of you, and many people I know in real life, who would tell me it’s long past time to get over it, but every morning I watch the news, I scroll my feeds and timelines, and I get progressively more afraid, more cynical, and more depressed.

It feels like there are so many people who want to hurt the poor, the lost, and the vulnerable. They want to hurt our environment. They want to hurt people who look and live differently from they way they look and live. They want to line their pockets and laugh while the world burns. I am convinced, but what I can’t understand is why.

I hear two voices shouting out at me through opinion pieces and blogs. One says not to listen to them, not to give them one moment’s consideration. They are the enemy and they must be guarded against at all costs. The other says to understand them. See the world their way. They are afraid, they are ignorant, listen and reassure them. They only need time and love to come around.

My heart likes the sound of the latter, but my anger tells me I am stupid and pushes the former course.

I’m highly suspicious of any calls to understand, and appeal to, people who refuse to understand or appeal to the needs of those less fortunate than them.

What I mean is, if you are angry because full equality under the law and fair and respectful treatment for immigrants, Muslims, women, and the LGBTQ+ community has become an important issue in American politics, I think the last thing we should be doing is giving you more time to explain why people who have suffered and fought for so long should slow down, take a back seat, and give you the floor. Sorry, I’m not sorry.

I am weary of anyone who says you can’t eat, you can’t feel warm, secure, and safe because they need more. There are real consequences for people when you won’t let go of your ego or a small amount of your money. When people say they need something, they need it. End of story.

But as weary as I am, as much as I don’t want to spend my time understanding and coddling, there is part of me that longs to understand and the only thing that makes sense is that people just don’t know any better. They can’t help themselves. They really think they are doing what is right.

We have so much privilege we have become so blind to it. We spend more time protecting our luxuries than we do protecting human life and dignity. We are all guilty of it. Some more than others, but every day more and more sees the light. There is hope, I hope.

I recognize that may be a lie I am telling myself too. Maybe part of me just wants to, has to, believe that the world isn’t that cruel. People can’t be evil for evil sake. Even if the universe doesn’t care and there is no rhyme or reason to any of this, we have to have reasons right? We have to, deep down, want to do what’s best, for love, for our families, for our country and our sense of right and wrong. Right?

So, this week, I’m exploring what lies are worth telling myself. What leaps of faith are worth taking. What aspects of human nature are not worth looking too closely at.

My instincts tell me none. My instincts tell me wherever humans are involved things are always complicated, and there are never easy answers. There is always a spectrum and it is rare we fall to one side or the other fully. People aren’t all bad, but they aren’t all good either. People’s intentions must follow the same patterns I suppose.

So, this week I guess I am exploring what that means to me and in these times, where we are so divided, so angry, and so willing to turn a blind eye or let loose our rage, we should all explore what that means for us, about us. How do we find common ground? How do we listen and teach? How do we change hearts? How do we do it without losing our own sense of right and wrong?

This week, ask yourself what are the value the value of rose-colored glasses and leaps of faith in humanity? Contemplate the motivations behind why we treat each other the way they do. Look within yourself and question how it makes you feel when another person says they need things that you cannot understand. In what ways do people who live differently from you make you afraid?

I want to know what evil lives in me and why I think it will lead to happiness. I want to know that about all people. I want to know how to fix it.

“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

— Anne Frank

***

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Learn the Meaning of What You Say

Hello, dear readers and happy Monday! I know I know, Mondays aren’t happy. Mondays are for being tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting nothing more than to crawl back into bed and escaping the world.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s think of Mondays as a fresh start, every week. Mondays are our do-overs, our reset buttons, our first days. From now on every Monday is a second chance, and this time, we might just get it right. Let’s make the changes we want to see in ourselves and the world, okay?

For me, this Monday is off to a pretty good start. I decided to set my alarm 15 minutes earlier in the mornings, which allows me to hit the snooze button and still get up on time. The extra time really made a difference. I didn’t feel rushed, and I got to work early. I think I’ll keep it this way. I like getting to ease into the day rather than starting it off with panic and chaos. Mondays are already hard enough, right?

“First, learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.”

— Epictetus

Ever since Election day here in America, there have been a flurry of posts, tweets, and think pieces looking to place blame for Clinton’s loss. Some would say that those who opted to stay home on election night share some responsibility. Some would say that Clinton and her strategy team deserved some blame. I would say for the most part the people who felt they could stomach Trump’s racism, sexism, and xenophobia on the off-chance that he might “make America great again”—whatever that means—are the ones to blame.

But there has been a new accusation coming out lately. Some believe that the real reason Clinton lost was that of “identity politics.”

Identity politics are the tendency for people to vote in the interest of a particular group they may belong to, for example, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc. Think of it this way: the same way that the media has replaced the terms “neo-nazi” and “white supremacist” with “alt-right,” they have also replaced “civil rights” with “identity politics.”

According to the new theory, Clinton and the Democrats lost because they continue to court and fight for POC, immigrants, the disabled, and the LGBTQ community. They lost because too many of us are talking about what matters to us, about what we need, and about the ways we are hurt and afraid. We are talking about ourselves, and straight, white, working class voters are feeling a little left out.

They see too many women, minorities, and queers walking around like they deserve something. They’d like to return to a time when those people stayed quiet and made themselves available every other second Tuesday in November.

(I would like to take a moment to point out that straight, white, men and women have been voting for their interests since the dawn of this country’s existence and it never seemed to be a problem for them until other groups started doing it. See also: Trump’s entire campaign strategy.)

This wasn’t meant to be a political lecture, I swear, but I have had great issue already with the right’s demonization of political correctness and civil rights, and I will not tolerate it from the left. I will not tolerate it from people who have the privilege of finding our needs trivial, and I will not keep quiet while we are shovel aside or back into our closets.

This is was not meant to be a political lecture but it is a lecture, nonetheless. This isn’t just about Democrat or Republican; this isn’t even just about America. It’s about understanding that what we say, who we blame, and who we defend means a hell of a lot to a lot of people. It’s about understanding that what is important to you isn’t important to everyone sure, but remembering that suppressing the needs of others for your own needs and gains is wrong. It about understanding that these words hurt more than you can know.

It’s about understanding that for some of us, these rights we are fighting for have been long denied and we will not let you belittle or postpone them any longer.

It’s about compassion, empathy, and goddamned human decency!

Before you speak of which Americans deserve representation, protection, and consideration in their government officials please take a few moments to learn the meaning of your words. Learn how it affects people when you are offending by being asked to use correct pronouns. Learn how it affect people when you are being asked to refrain from offensive language and problematic convictions. Learn what it means when you tell the people most in need of help and understanding, protection and care that it would be better for everyone if they would just let it go for an election cycle or two.

Take a moment to read something outside of your bubble and really understand the needs of people who don’t live, think, or believe the same as you. Learn about the meaning behind what they say, then examine the meaning of what you are saying. Take a moment to examine why you have such a problem with those people and their needs. Take a moment to consider if it were you being told to shut up and go away.

Words matter. Words mean things. Words hurt.

Use yours wisely.

P.S. Democrats do need to face the fact that they lack support from whites living in rural areas. The knee-jerk reaction is to take a page out of the opposition’s book, but I would encourage us to find another way. Do not let yourselves become what you hate. Remember, when they go low, we go high.

***

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If We Were Having Coffee // I Hate Writing and I Hate Turkey

Hello, dear readers. I’m so glad you’ve stopped by to chat with me. I am feeling much better than I have been these last few weeks. My election depression is wearing off, my cold is long gone, and work hasn’t been too stressful.

It’s been a good week, considering.

***

If we were having coffee, I would start by telling about the crazy weather we’ve been having. This past Thursday we finally got our very first bit of snow for the season. Before that, we were working on something like six weeks without any precipitation at all. Not only that but were seeing temperatures close to 80 degrees some days. That is unheard of for this time of year here.

Our ski resorts had to postpone opening which means our winter tourism business is probably down and I predict another drought next year.

I won’t lie, at first, I really liked it. Now all I can think is this is what climate change will be for us here. We will get dryer and dryer, warmer and warmer. We will live under a constant fire watch, and water will become a real problem. Scary shit.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am still very far behind on my NaNoWriMo word counts, but I am proud of myself for not giving up. I do have a super easy week coming up at work, and I am determined to do as much as I can to make up the words during this time.

At this point, my strategy is just writing random scenes that may or may not make it into my final book. I am working on figuring who my characters are and getting them into more situations where they interact with on another. I am also trying to add more pain so that later there can be more redemption and happiness. I’m trying to have fun with it.

Some days it’s hard, though. Some days I just don’t feel up to it. Some days my emotions are overwhelming—or underwhelming—or I am too tired, or I’ve had a glass or two of wine, and I can’t get the words to flow. It feels very much like pulling teeth. Like prying things out of my mind and soul with a crowbar. It’s painful and leaves me exhausted and low.

Some days I am not even sure I like writing, which tells me that I am on my way to becoming a real writer.

***

 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am still feeling some kind of way about this election. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is I am feeling now. I’m having a hard time accepting the state of things and my fear feels unmanageable and unreasonable. I am alternating between outrage and numbness. Every other day I am either obsessively consuming the news or avoiding it entirely. I don’t know exactly how to cope, and instead, I am flailing within my own world hoping to find my footing soon.

I don’t know what else to say about this shit show, except to say that, to me, America doesn’t feel especially “great” at all. America feels pretty crappy right now. We’re not the worst, by far, but we are not the best. I have a bad feeling that our time on top has passed and we a falling fast. We can’t see it yet, but it’s been true for a while now. Whatever happens now we will only have ourselves—our stubbornness, our intolerance, and our egos—to blame.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have made no idea how I am spending Thanksgiving. I know, I know, it’s a little late to be trying to figure it out now, but you have to understand, I don’t even like Thanksgiving, for many reasons.

I’ve read that the real first Thanksgiving was actually in celebration of the Pequot Massacre in which “700 men, women and children” were killed by early settlers. I’m not sure if that is true, or if what I was taught in school was true but I do know that when it comes to the bloody history in this country, we are quick to gloss over or outright erase the worst of it.

We downplay the crimes committed against the Native Americans, and to celebrate Columbus Day and Thanksgiving feels like a slap in the face. We forget all the pain their ancestors endured, and we insult them by not offering a day of remembrance and reflection

Also, it seems a whole lot of work, a whole lot of consumption,  and a whole lot of waste under the guise of gratitude. It feels like a whole lot of bullshit.

Plus, I hate turkey.

***

If we were having coffee, I’d apologize for my negative outlook on the holiday. I do think it’s great that families get together and spend a day enjoying good food and good company. I try to keep that in mind during these times. I just wish we would get rid of the back story.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had better get doing. It’s getting late, and there are words I have to write for this novel, or whatever it is. I plan to spend the rest of the night writing whatever I can. My hope is 2000 words; I’d be happy with 100 though.

I hope you had a good week and I wish you all the productivity and good vibes you can get in the upcoming days. Please, if you have a moment, drop a note in the comments and let me know how you have been. How are you coping since the election? What are your Thanksgiving plans? And what big projects, NaNoWriMo or otherwise, are you working on.

Until next time :)

My favorite shirt that doesn't belong to me :) #selfie

A post shared by Lisa Blair (@zenandpi) on

***

I started a weekly-ish newsletter on life, love, and suffering. You can sign up here: (:

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If We Were Having Coffee // Post-Election Depression

Hello, dear readers. Thank you for stopping by to chat with me. Things have been hard this past week, for obvious reasons, and also I haven’t been sleeping well or reaching very many of my goals. I am depressed, I think. Nothing seems good, interesting, exciting, or possible at the moment.

Some coffee date I am, huh?

***

If we were having coffee, I would do my best to avoid bringing up the election but if you so much as mention either candidate or ask me who I voted for I may just lose it. I am flipping between feelings of anger, disappointment, and fear, plus I feel stupid and weak for feeling the way I do. So many people on social media are telling people like me to stop being such whiny babies and to suck it up and move on. It’s hard not to wonder if they might be right.

It’s not so much that I am worried about President-elect Trump, it’s more like I’m worried about rest of the government plus Trump. The Republican party has a long history of hating people like me—black, female, gay—and I hate to think what may be coming now that the US has written them a blank check and elected very few who will check them. For some Americans, this may be a very long and painful four years.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my anger has been directed in nearly every direction. I’m doing my best not to let individuals get caught up in the crossfire but instead focus on demographics and the obvious sentiments and secret thoughts of entire swaths of the American public.

Saw a lot of people telling others how they should feel today. People saying we should get over it, move on, and unite! Um, how about hell no! I am angry, and I will be for a very long time. If you aren’t then congrats! You don’t fall into one of the groups that Republicans have been shitting on for as long as you can remember. I’ll get you a cookie. Unfortunately, a lot of people do. Unfortunately, I do. Politicians have been telling me my whole life I am going to hell, that I don’t matter, and that I am in need of “correction.” They told me my love would tear the country apart and that I didn’t deserve a family. Those politicians just took control of every branch of this government. For some of us, this hurts. For some of us, this is scary. So yeah, I’ll be losing friends over this. Yeah, I’m going to be angry. Yeah, I am going to bitch. If you can’t understand that, support that, or give me space to do that, then we were probably never friends anyway.

— One of my recent Facebook posts.

Unfortunately, that isn’t working out so well. There have been a few friends unfriended and blocked on Facebook and some who received a lecture and the silent treatment in real life. It’s hard to accept that so many people put other lives and freedoms in danger merely because they wanted to watch the world burn in the hopes that our government might be born anew. I hope those people understand the gravity of their decision in the coming years, but I doubt it.

Privilege is one hell of a drug.

***

If we were having coffee, I would try my best to move on. No one likes to talk politics for very long, do they? I would probably mention the thrilling and surprisingly funny but also a bit uncomfortably erotic movie The Handmaiden, an “erotic psychological thriller” about a pickpocket and a con man plotting to seduce a wealthy woman out of her inheritance.

It’s based on a book titled Fingersmith—which is also very good—by Sarah Waters but the setting has been moved from  Victorian era Britain to “Korea under Japanese colonial rule.”

I think I’ll write one of my proper reviews of this movie, but it’ll be awhile before I can wrap my head around it. It was a lot, a little too much maybe. I have an issue with movies that over sexualize lesbian and gay relationships, especially when I’m not sure it adds to the story. Then again, who am I to judge someone else’s art, right?

I’ll leave you with the intriguing trailer and the assurance that it is, in fact, an excellent film.

 

***

If we were having coffee, I would briefly mention my NaNoWriMo word counts. They are sad. I’m sitting at 11,685 words, which is so much better than zero words but so much worse than the 21,666 words I should have by now. I could still do this, if I just got my shit together, sat my ass in the seat, and wrote the damn thing!

I have two problems, though.

Number one, I don’t know what happens next. I’ve written a few scenes, and I have given my characters some exciting conflicts to get through. I have explosions and car chases. I have love interests, heart breaks, and deaths. I have a message and a moral, but I am missing something. I am missing a route to the big climax and a clear idea of who the ultimate villain is and what they want. I don’t know how my character saves the world and I am not even sure why she wants to. I am missing the hook.

My second issue is one of motivation. I am one of those people who gives up when I’ve fallen too far behind or when the odds of my success begin to dwindle. I can’t make myself see that I can do this with just a little extra work. Deep down I feel like the battle is already lost, so I can’t get my mind to focus. Sigh.

For now, I am going to work on expanding what I have and adding dialog.

***

If we were having coffee, I would thank you for lending my your ear and letting me know there are people out there who care enough to listen. It means a lot. I have been nearly absent from everywhere on the internet except for Twitter. My Twitter feed is filled with people who understand how I am feeling and I have been drawn there more than uncertain places like WordPress or Facebook. I will be back. I just need to get out of this funk, but I am afraid it may take a while.

In the meantime feel free to drop a note in the comments. I’d like to hear how you are doing—especially if you are also participating in NaNoWriMo—and how you physically and emotionally reacting to hearing President-elect Trump over and over again. Just typing makes my skin crawl and my stomach turn. Ugh.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed your weekend and that your work week will be a little better than the last.

Until next time :)

***

I started a weekly-ish newsletter on life, love, and suffering. You can sign up here: (:

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But…They are Deplorable

Here in America, the election is coming to a climax, and everyday things get weirder, crazier, and more and more exasperating.

This past week I have had enough. I was pushed to my limit after hearing Trump’s talking heads and surrogates condemn Clinton for her “basket of deplorables” comment. I lost it when I heard them attempt to twist her words after she called out a faction of this country we have all been ashamed of. When she mentioned a fact we already knew, that those people we are ashamed of have recently become emboldened and have decided they have a place at the table.

They took the comment out of context and twisted it into something ugly and untrue. This time, I am pissed.

On the surface I get it. If I hadn’t taken the time to find out what Clinton had said exactly, if I had just taken Trump’s word for it, if I only heard his attack ad, I might be offended too. Luckily, the Internet exists, and humans possess the gift of logical thinking, mostly.

Luckily, I am here to explain things.

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

“But the other basket — and I know this because I see friends from all over America here — I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas — as well as, you know, New York and California — but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.

I took the liberty of emphasizing the important parts for you.

Clinton starts by saying not only is she grossly generalizing but she’s only talking about half of Trump supporters. This is an instance of “If it offends you it might apply to you, and if it doesn’t apply to you, you shouldn’t be offended.”

Clinton didn’t say all Trump supports; she didn’t even say half of all Americans. She said what we all already know to be true. That the kind of people who hold sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic views tend to say they are in support of Trump. Hell, we all know that those kinds of people tend to support Republicans in general. This is nothing new.

Not all Republicans or Trump supports are like that; we know that. We know that there is more to being conservative too. There are issues of fiscal responsibility and personal liberty, but we also know that these matters have been overshadowed.

There is a fear among many Americans that the Republicans who are saying those hateful things are the ones who are going to be running that party and possibly running this country. That is why it is important for Clinton to point out which party that particular group of people has decided to join.

I think we can all agree that sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, eat., have no place in America. We know that.We all know we should be accepting of people who are different from us. We know that is what America is supposed to be about. Freedoms to be who you are regardless of where you have come from.

What I see, and what many other non-Republicans see, is a party that accepts the people who think America is only for people who look and believe a certain way. They give those people a home and make promises to them for votes, and that is very dangerous. Republicans think they can shelter and condemn all at once. Republicans think they can spin the support of these “deplorables” and continue to cry innocence. Clinton is pointing out the fallacy and the danger of this hypocrisy.

Whatever you may think of Clinton, she told the truth up there. The fact is, people who hold such hateful views tend to support the Republican Party. In 2008 The American National Election Studies ran a poll and found that 45% of white Americans he’d negative views of black people, in 2012 that number had jumped to 62%. Those people were also heavily skewed toward Republican, and we know they still are. That poll only looked at racial bias, what about sexism and homophobia/transphobia?

The folks over at FiveThirtyEight discussed this very topic and shared a lot of data and opinion. They concluded that not only do most people who hold those views tend to identify as Republican but that they preferred Trump over any other Republican candidate. I think we can safely say that whether or not half of Trump’s supporters are deplorable isn’t the point. The point is, he is definitely their candidate of choice, and there is nothing at all wrong with pointing that out.

Hell, even Trump himself has used questionable language. He’s blamed immigrants for everything going wrong in this country and even called them criminals and rapists. He told Black people that they had nothing to lose since they were already living in poverty and sending their children to crappy schools. He wants to ban all Muslims and has accused refugees seeking safety within our borders of being terrorists. In my opinion, he is one of the “deplorables” Clinton is talking about.

Some say calling these people names and condemning them might be making the problem worse. They say instead we should be showing them that the people they hate are in fact people, and you change their mind. They sat we should lead by example. The logic behind it is sound; there may even be science behind it, but the reality is, we’ve tried that, and we are tired.

I am now in favor of a two-pronged approach. Yeah, use empathy and understanding and lead the horse to the water, sure, but sometimes a little tough love will do the trick.

Sometimes “deplorables” need to be reminded of what they are. They are always in danger of believing that their views are not only right but widely held, and I think it’s a good idea to say “Hey, you are hateful, and there is no place in the future of this country for hateful people.”

That being said, I do encourage everyone to begin emphasizing the second part of Clinton’s statement. She mentioned the people who legitimately support the Republicans, and I do believe there is a legitimate reason to be a Republican. They are the people who worry about our economy, our freedom, and our military. They see a different set of problems and propose a different set of solutions. Those people do have a place in this country. Those people are worth listening to and understanding.

Those people are a part of America too.

Clinton is saying she has heard them. Clinton is saying they matter. She is urging her supporters to hear them too.

That was the point of her speech.

***

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Original image via Gage Skidmore

 

It’s Okay to Choose a Side

Hello and happy Monday to you all! I hope your weekend was a relaxing one and that you were able to start the work week out on the right foot. Mine started out fine, despite me not knowing that this week was going to be a busy one until I was already being handed the work. Oh well, one for in front of the other and we’ll all get through it fine!

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

// Desmond Tutu

I am going to warn you, as we inch closer and closer to November this blog may become more and more political. I promise to try my best not to get too pushy or preachy, more than trying to get you to pick my side—I hope you do—but mostly I just want you to pick side. I want you to care about, and participate in, the future of this nation.

This election cycle is proving to be a very interesting one, and it feels more polarizing than either of the last two were. I think they are because of the results of the last two. I think a portion of each party is becoming more radicalized while the other moves to the center. I also think one party, in particular, is very bitter and endeavors to take this country back to some imagined time when they were the unquestioned privileged in the greatest country in the world.

I can’t help but feel that we are all on the verge of those people, who refuse to move into the future with the rest of us, turning the clock back on the right and respect that have been earned by women, minorities, and the LGBT community. We are on the verge of sliding backwards and making this country a hard place to live in for those of us who are a little different, again.

“The American people do not like neutrality. They would rather a man were on the wrong side than on neither.”

// Robert Green Ingersoll

Over the years, I have tried my best to lecture and nag my friends and family into exercising their right to vote. They hem and haw and make excuses as to why they choose not to. The don’t know about the candidates, they don’t know about the issues, they don’t want to get involved. It boggles my mind that people will know every stat and player of their favorite football teams, they’ll debate and even resort to threats and even violence over wins and losses, but choose silence and neutrality when it comes to the government of the United States of America. Like…what??

There is a belief that neutrality is somehow better than choosing a side, as if it is morally superior. When politics are brought up people get angry and people get hurt and so it must in order to avoid conflict or to avoid being wrong, we “stay out of it”. The thing is I don’t believe that anyone stays out of politics because they are trying to be nice, I think we are avoiding the work of learning about and becoming informed about the issues and because we don’t want to be responsible for the choices we make.

So let’s start over. I want you to know it is ok to choose a side. You don’t have to tell people that you have chosen a side, you don’t have to justify it, and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. I do urge you to discuss the issues and the candidates with those around you, only talking about matters that affect us all publically shouldn’t be this hard, but it isn’t necessary to share your feelings. Keep your opinions to yourself if you want but please, form an opinion, an informed opinion preferably.

Choose with both your heart and mind. Learn the facts and imagine yourself in the shoes of people who are different from you before you decide. And never forget that it is always okay, encouraged even, for you to change your mind whenever new facts surface or your moral compass moves more north or south.

Do not take your voting rights for granted, and don’t leave the rest of us to the mercy of those who ‘s intentions might not be good but who take this responsibility very seriously.

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”

// Dante Alighieri