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, I had to wake up earlier that usual today, which I thought was going to be bad but instead gave me a jump start on writing and work. It felt really good, and I’m considering waking up a little earlier every day now so that I might enjoy some time to orient myself and start off on a better foot than usual.
“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”
— William James
Like the rest of the United States, I am still reeling from last week’s election results. I’ve calmed down quite a bit—I’m no longer outright panicking—but I am still angry and very disappointed in the American people.
I’m angry with half of them for choosing not to participate or vote at all. I’m angry with people who do not want to do the work of helping shape the world they live in. I am angry with people who will not search inside themselves to find out what they believe and what they think is right. I am angry with people for not taking a stand and for not showing gratitude in the choice they are allowed to make. There are so many who have no choices. There are so many who died to give you the choices you have. Exercise them!
I’m angry at them for voting for a candidate and a party that makes no effort to hide its hatred for women, immigrants, People of color, and members of the LGBTQ community. I’m angry at them for not being able to see that America was never great for so many of its citizens. I’m angry that they thought that lifting up the most vulnerable and marginalized among them was somehow an attack on their rights. America cannot be taken from you, and more equality is never a bad thing.
I am angry, and I will be for a long time because people who choose not to take a stand and people who stand on the side of oppression of others think they are different, but their choices so often end in the suffering of others. No one is absolved. Everyone is guilty.
What I have learned is that so many people think that their feelings are more important than the well-being of their fellow human being.
I know people who think their vote doesn’t matter and so they stayed home on election night. I know people who have voted Republican their whole lives, and while they found Trump to be an unsavory candidate, they couldn’t vote for the better candidate across the aisle. I know people who believe political correctness is ruining the country. I know people who think social programs are a strain on the economy, but we don’t spend enough on the military.
I know people who swear they are not racist and believe that the reason more Black Americans are targeted by police and the justice system is because Black people are just more violent. I know people who think Islam is a religion of hatred and war. I know people who think Muslims only exist in the Middle East. I know people who think America is the greatest country on Earth and that we can—and should—do it alone. I know people who think it is us against the world and “us”—regardless of citizenship status—means only one kind of person.
These people think they are moving beyond the status quo. They think they are the only ones who see the truth and they are the only ones who will save this country. They think they have it all figured out, but they are wrong. They’ve only twisted up their real thoughts into excuses that make what they do less awful in their minds.
They have only rearranged their prejudices.
This week, and for the next four years, I encourage all of you to think about why you believe the way you do. Why do you vote the way you do? Why do you put your trust the politicians that you do? Why do you think this country is great? What do you think this country needs? Are your ideas, feelings, and beliefs your own? If not, where do they come from? Are your ideas, feelings, and beliefs rooted in wanting to do the most good for the most people? Are your choices hurting other people? Do you care if they do?
Think beyond your prejudices. Think with empathy, compassion, and faith in humankind. Do not think in generalizations. Do not think the worst of those you don’t know or understand.
Do not hold so tight to your privilege that you allow others to suffer so you may live an easier life.
I am encouraged by the solidarity I am seeing among the Liberals and Democrats on social media, but I am fearful of the Far Right and their new-found courage. I am worried by reports of bullying and abuse all over the country. I am fearful that this country, instead of learning from are mistakes, will in the coming years only find more people to blame and to hate.
I can’t bear it if that happens. I cannot recover from another blow of hatred from a country that has claimed to love me and want the best for me. I cannot go on trying to help and hope. I cannot believe that we are something beautiful and extraordinary in this universe if we keep pulling further and further away from one another.
We all are all we have.
Please do not forget that.
I started a weekly-ish newsletter on life, love, and suffering. You can sign up here: https://tinyletter.com/zenandpi (:
Featured image via Unsplash