It was a grey and rainy morning in Colorado the day after #45 was elected president to the United States of America in 2016.
The weather could not have been more fitting for how I felt inside. Grief stricken. Angry. At a loss. I felt as if I had been run over by a 10,000 pound truck and I had been flattened into oblivion.
I had a full schedule of therapy clients that day and there was no hiding my puffy, post sob face no matter how much I tried to pull myself together.
Every woman that walked in my door that day looked similarly pummeled and every one of them needed to talk about how heartbroken and distrubed she was to watch this man rise into this position of power.
Now if you know me, politics is not my favorite arena. I’d much rather chat for hours about the inner life or hear what you’re learning about yourself than debate the pros and cons of the latest bill in congress.
I cringe at the lack of empathy, maturity and plain old decency that is so often at the forefront of politics. Yet I know I cannot escape or run from how deeply impactful political life is to each of our basic human rights and our very existence.
Politics shapes and informs so much: what we have access to or not, how we are cared for in our most vulnerable moments of life, how justice gets served or doesn’t, and so much more.
So when I sit down with my ballot every election cycle, it is a sacred act for me. I take it very seriously and I take my time.
I think about how Black men only got the right to vote 150 years ago, how white women in the U.S. have only had the right to have their voices counted for 100 years and how many Black women had to wait nearly five decades more to exercise the right to vote. I think about how much is still going on today to suppress folks of all different backgrounds from having their voices heard and I think about my privilege and responsibility to vote.
I have a master’s degree and have been educated in some of the highest quality institutions in America. And yet when I sit down to read those propositions, sometimes I cannot understand the language they are using or what I am actually voting for or against. I sometimes feel as if the folks creating the various amendments and propositions intentionally refrain from using plain English just so that it is harder to discern what they are saying.
This I will not have. So I spend the time that it takes researching every single candidate and issue that I am voting on until I feel clear about where I stand with each and every one. This is how I find my power when I can sometimes feel so powerless in the face of it all.
I want to be clear: there is nothing in me that is neutral about this presidential election. As Michelle Obama says beautifully, “Donald Trump is NOT the president for this country.”
I have a lot of space for varying political views and perspectives. I have a deep appreciation for how complicated and entrenched so many of the biggest issues of our time can be, and I am in no fantasy that the solutions are simple or that one president could possibly tackle them all.
But I completely condemn what #45 stands for: bigotry, hate, sexism, white supremacy, bullying, destruction. He MUST be removed and we MUST start the collective road to recovery in the aftermath of everything his anti-leadership has revealed about our country and the people in it.
This year, as I was sealing up the envelope for my ballot I began to cry.
I felt the tears of hope for a better future as well as the tears of fear at the possibility of what lies ahead.
I let myself feel the power of being able to vote and also the heartbreak of how painful and destructive these times have been for so many.
So please, if you are an American citizen and have not already, make a plan to vote and make sure everyone else in your life has done the same.
And if you are one of the amazing people working hard on the election in this season, thank you. Thank you for your service.
This is me praying & taking action for a healthier and more sane outcome in 2020.