We hugged on November 9th. All four of us. And agreed in our house love and acceptance will always be the standard.
It’s almost been a month, and I’m still absorbing, grieving and feeling. But, this election cycle changed me. My afternoon tea two days after the election finally gave me the beacon of light I needed to start writing.
In the words of Mrs. Obama; “it has shaken me to my core in a way I could not have predicted.” I feel those words deeply. I truly could not have predicted the emotional reaction I have had to this election.
What this has taught me more than anything else is that I need to listen more deeply to people who think differently than I.
A friend shared a graph showing the rise in things like student loan debt and healthcare. He made a comment that this is what lead to a Trump victory. It’s an interesting illustration. I believe that it helps explain the pain so many Americans are feeling. I can relate. I have student debt coming out my ears. My family's financial progress is certainly slowed due to this.
I'm trying to listen. To really understand what hope friends and family see in Mr. Trump. And, I believe my friend to be right. The pain Americans are feeling must cut deep to long for such aggressive change.
I also believe this election transcends policies.
I've heard, “this is not about 'how do we explain this to our children'?” I disagree with that statement. I have been consumed by that thought. Feelings and thoughts are real even if they aren’t shared by all. If we’re listening to each other we can’t disregard the fact that many of us are feeling this way.
My children are too young to explain any of this to. Still, I can’t help but reflect on the message we sent to the next generation yesterday. I fear we told them, in the face of adversity, it’s OK to bully each other. To lash out. To cloak racism and misogyny in political incorrectness. We elected the type of man that I want my daughter to stay the hell away from. We embraced fear and hate. I believe that is scarier than any difference of opinion regarding policies.
I also believe we all have a role in this. Regardless of our vote. I, for one, did not listen enough before yesterday.
I heard Glennon Doyle Melton say recently that we can do one of three things; we can get angry, we can go silent or we can create. I believe we need to create more love. And love often looks like listening. Like caring. Like seeing the human behind the opinions.
We have more than wounds to heal. We have hearts to change. We have to find our way back to seeing each other as human beings.
I was a hesitant supporter of Mrs. Clinton. But, I sent her an email the day after the election. I don’t know if she got it. I truly hope she did. I thought about her in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t think about the candidate. I thought about the flawed human. I thought about how strong she was while standing beside a bully calling her names. For that, and so much more, I wanted to hug her. Plain and simple.
Let’s love, people. It’s the best we can do!
A version of this post previously appeared on amandawendling.com.