Earlier today, I did something brave.
I knowingly opened myself up to anger, fear, criticism, and backlash purely for the sake of truth-seeking.
I took to Instagram Stories and asked questions just like the one pictured below:
What I learned is that we have never been more divided as a nation, or as a collective people since the Civil War.
What followed was a heartfelt opening, a call for thoughtful discord. These are the words, verbatim, that I shared with my online community…
I ask these questions because I have had a deep feeling since Tuesday that there are no winners in this election, given how divisively close it is.
As a Democrat, YES – I am clutching to the hope that Biden will in fact secure the presidency for four years and help mend the country.
But as a human, the soul I am much deeper than any partisan politics…I’m worried. I’m scared. I see the humanness in every Republican that cast their vote for Trump and how scared and worried they must feel right now as well.
This is an unpopular opinion to have right now.
But I truly believe that our future depends on actively seeking out one another’s humanness, across the aisle.
The truth is, I was born and raised in the Midwest and I have a lot of loved ones who think the way we live our life in Manhattan is absolutely bonkers.
…just as I think it’s insane and selfish not to wear a mask or claim that absentee ballots are somehow illegal.
We have to stop dismissing one another purely based on the information we have access to because of our geographic and religious affiliations.
As a white, affluent, cis gender woman living in Manhattan, my news is a hell of a lot different than what my family in rural Indiana is absorbing. Our Internet searches are different. Our communities are saying completely different things, every single day.
I am blessed to live in a city where every single person wears a mask.
My aunt in Indiana is outwardly chastised every time she wears one to the grocery store.
These differences are NOT caused by stupidity.
They are caused by ignorance in its truest sense. Ignorance created by a lack of reliable information and falsehoods that spread like wildfire from the top down.
Conservative folks I know distrust the government.
Liberal folks I know distrust the government.
After what we went through in April, I distrust the government.
And where does that leave us? Fending for ourselves, small communities banding together, holding onto whatever we can to try and make sense of it all.
Every mother I know who chose not to mask her child didn’t do so out of spite.
She did it because she believed – based entirely on what her circumstances confirmed – that masks would be harmful and stressful.
What is the common denominator here?
We are all just mothers trying to take care of our babies the best way we know how based on the information we have always known and trusted.
Tending to this dumpster fire requires PATIENCE.
It requires massive ego checks.
It requires us to actively swim upstream (as my friend so eloquently put it just now) and seek out the systems that create these divides in our society.
To do this, we have to talk to one another.
We have to ask each other these questions in a safe and inquisitive way.
So, I’m risking pissing off my followers to say this:
If you voted for Trump, I want to have a conversation with you. I want you to help me understand what is important to you and your family. Person to person.
I want to be a Truth Seeker.
I want to be a Mender.
I want to spark respectful, thoughtful conversations with you all.
I am here for much more than Likes and Followers and Subscribers.
I’m here to be a catalyst for compassionate change.
I’m here to rise above the noise.
I’m here to seek out our commonalities and address our differences.
I am not here to name call.
I am not here to let my ego run the show.
I am not here to dismiss or label.
And so, as honestly terrifying as this is…
My inbox is officially open.
I invite your respectful discord. I invite your questions about my lived experience here in New York. I invite your different religious views. I invite your liberal-leaning worries about what it means for me to say all of this.
I invite it all.
I’m choosing to open up.
I’m trying my best to limit my own consumption of media right now, so please be patient with me.
I will try to respond to each and every one of you, personally, within a day or so.
I meant every single word. If you’re reading this, I invite you to become a part of the conversation that will hopefully, in time, lead us into a compassionate future.
And at a minimum, I invite you to sit with whatever emotions bubble right up to the surface upon reading these words. Those thoughts and emotions – those reactions – are our collective key.
If you would like to speak more, please feel free to email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org