True wisdom instructs us to do more listening than speaking.
I have been heeding this advice this week as much as possible. Perhaps to a saturation point, even.
What I see over and over is that people are panic-stricken and our children are terrified. This candidate ran a fear-driven campaign and he has subsequently, swept the nation with fear. I know of several parents who are taking their children to psychiatrists ranging from concerns to very grave, utterly heartbreaking concerns. I know of adults who are finding it hard to get out of bed. There are kids who are afraid to walk home from school, or even walk the halls inside their schools.
In Our America. The land of the free.
25 years ago, I was holding hands with a woman in Santa Monica and a large pick-up truck drove by in an attempt to try to hit us. I pushed my beloved to the side so she would not get hurt and watched as the maniacal crew drove away screaming horrible epithets.
5 years ago, just one week before the Marriage Equality Act was passed in New York, I was literally asked to leave a church in New York City for sitting quietly just because I was holding hands with the woman I loved. 4 years later, the Supreme Court made Same-Sex a Marriage Right nationwide.
We cannot afford to lose our rights. This is Our America. Land of the free.
I have been listening. And here is what I have noticed: I have felt the deep collective heartache of so many. It cannot be ignored. I woke up today and I can barely move. I have a titanium plate in my neck due to having undergone spinal surgery. I noticed today that I could barely move my neck. No, I didn’t fall. No, I didn’t lift anything too heavy. Here is what I believe happened…
The fear tactic worked.
My body is responding to the bully and feeling a significant boundary violation. He violated the boundaries of many of my sisters and brothers. He never held himself accountable for it. And our voices are still crying out collectively to be heard. We are somewhat frozen. But we cannot allow ourselves to be.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I hear you. I believe you. I value you. I stand with you. I will not abandon you or this fight. I will defend you. I will try to help you. I love you. I am you.
We have enough momentum now to lean into each other. To validate each other’s voices. To keep moving forward. To listen. To hear each other. To see ourselves in each other and know that we need each other now more than ever. That we ARE stronger together. That we have risen.
THIS IS OUR AMERICA.
This is Our America. And we will rise.
This IS OUR America. We have to keep naming it. Claiming it. Taking a stand for ourselves. Stand in our voices. Stand in our power and in our solidarity. We have to keep reminding each other who we are. We have to keep finding the best in ourselves and in each other. And we have to keep going. We have to keep going. We have to.
This is Our America.