I am white, straight, American born, upper-middle class, college educated, privately insured, and at a point in my life where I welcome all of the babies that come my womb’s way. I pull our drinking water from a clean well pumped from an aquifer below our safe, heated, lit and large home. I drive my own car and haven’t relied on public transportation in years. I am employable in a well paying field but financially stable to remain at home, eliminating the cost of childcare for our family and ensuring quality access to early educational experiences for our children. I am a Christian.
Yet even so, I am terrified for today.
And that has me thinking, if I feel paralyzed by fear, dread, and flashbacks to feeling blindsided in 2016; how crippling is this day for those who flip one, two, or [deep, anxious breath] three or more of the demographics listed above.
I am afraid of today because I am afraid of what it can mean, what it says about us, or says about our future. But these feelings, for me, are balanced by the reality that the future, either way, is one in which I live shrouded in privilege. The kind of privilege that keeps me comfortably safe, nearly untouchable, generally unchanged, personally unchallenged.
And that is something I am finding so important to reflect on today.
So from this place of privilege, in this state of anxiety and fear, this state of dread and sadness, I started thinking about the simplicity of it all. I leaned into my privilege even further for a moment, and this is what I saw.
I saw that above all else I believe that humans are created with a capacity for empathy that is more profound, more present, than anywhere else in nature. I believe that humans are created with an intelligence that allows, if we are willing, to balance this empathy against our own fears and allows us to reject the false comforts of tribalism and blind self-preservation.
I believe that humans are created to be capable of choosing, above all else, to value the safety, protection, success, and happiness of all of our fellow citizens.
I believe that each person’s worship is made stronger by acknowledging and celebrating differences in the worship of others.
I believe that our nation has failed deeply, in the past, as all humans do. These failures cannot be erased, but they can be repaired; through acknowledgement, dialogue, discomfort, and a willingness to make significant changes to systems that continue to oppress our fellow citizens.
And as I thought of these things, as I viewed them through the lens of politics, I realized that for just a moment, I could pivot my perspective from my politics, and turn my focus to the son in my arms, and baby growing in my belly.
And in that frame, I saw promise. I saw hope.
Because in my role as their mother; those feelings of fear and helplessness fade away. The sense of already having done all that I can to impact the days ahead disappears and is replaced with more work to be done, more choices to be made, more voices to be raised.
Because as their mother, nothing is on the line today.
It all remains on the table.
Empathy, service, respect for the environment, protest for those less fortunate, rejection of tribalism, and assertion of the profound work still needed to pull us away from systems that continue to harm and marginalize entire groups of our fellow citizens.
In our home, none of that is on the line today.
And if tomorrow, or next week, or next month, our country continues politically in a direction that I fear is in direct opposition of the values of this house, I will dig my heels in harder. I will raise my voice even louder. I will teach my values with even greater vigor. And I will look forward, while looking beside me and behind me.
I will acknowledge my own fears today. I will keep my focus on my children, with our privilege in clear view. And I will use all of it, to the best of my ability, to not let today, or tomorrow, or next week, change the way this house, and its members;
Celebrate diversity (in worship, in sexuality, in birthplace, in values)
Make choices for our environment
Work to ensure the privilege we experience be something shared by those around us
Listen for what we may not know
Lead with love
*For those struggling today with the fear I cannot understand, please know I am here for you, I am thinking of you, I voted for you, and I love you.*