Look at this photo. It was taken on Sunday during a rally in Minnesota.
Source: Jonathan Ernst, Reuters
For me this image hit too close to home, both literally and figuratively: This man could be my neighbor; the people he would lynch could be my friends and former colleagues.
This photo represented the lowest point for me in a what has been a hostile, embarrassing, and infantile presidential campaign.
I’ve been disappointed in the mud-slinging. We’re facing some serious problems, and I’m pretty sure we won’t solve any of them with nasty tweets.
I’ve been disappointed in our politicians’ and political parties’ lack of moral courage, too. If the stakes weren’t so high, their posturing and jockeying would be comical.
But mostly I’ve been disappointed in my fellow Americans. Americans like the guy in this shirt.
Image via Twitter
I’ve been disappointed in Americans who demand their rights but who accept none of the responsibility. Americans who assert their liberties while aggressively denying the same to others. Americans who scream “FREEDOM OF SPEECH,” while calling for the murder of the very people who work every day to defend it.
These aren’t my people. And this is not the version of America I believe in.
In my America, all people are created equal with certain inalienable rights. Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness.
So tonight — on election eve — I’m borrowing the words of another fellow who did know something about moral conviction and human rights:
I’m borrowing the words of Jenny Lawson, an author whose courage and authenticity I admire:
We’re going to be okay.
We will. Because no matter who wins and no matter who you voted for you will still have the opportunity to fight each day for what you want to see in the world. Fight for justice or kindness or acceptance or love or equality or whatever it is that is still lacking. You will not fight alone. You still make a difference. In some cases you make more of a difference than a President ever will. Either way, you’ll be needed tomorrow (and every day after) to promote joy and love and grace even if you’re tired. You will be better for it and so will the world.
And I’m borrowing the words of my friend Jim on Facebook, who always seems to get it right:
Facebook friends — family, school chums, semi-pro football peers, fellow ink-stained and gigabyte wretches, teachers and mentors, fellow travelers on this blue ball — I just want to say I love you. We have so much more that binds us than divides us. I am honored to have you in my life.
We may never perfect democracy in the U.S. (With some 320 million people, we may never even agree on what democracy means.)
But we can each influence it by being the change we wish to see in the world. Working for justice or kindness or equality. Remembering that we’re all fellow travelers on this magnificent blue planet. And by discovering that — although we do have divisions — we also have a lot in common.
If we can remember that united we stand, we’re going to be okay.