What do you say to an entire nation that is at odds with itself? Some people are frightened, some people outraged, some people feel hopeless or apathetic. Some are confused about the direction our administration is headed, others are confused at why people are upset. It is a country searching for its identity and yet the road markers all indicate that it will be a time of deep division and angst.
What do we do here? What happens when lose our comfort to the unknown, the frightening, or the frustrating?
To be clear, I’m addressing both sides here. I know where most people pin me politically. I am less concerned with my political label as I am with the labels that define my character. Do I have integrity? Can I be trusted? Am I patient and kind? Most importantly, am I open? How I receive the information around me is just as important as the action that originated the report. Now is a time that, more than ever, I feel an obligation to my intellect, to the gifts of intelligence, to the skills of analysis, and to my fierce passion.
Whatever side you fall on, whatever feelings are raised by our current political climate, I believe there is only one enduring solution.
You must be your best self.
We must suffer through the growing pains that are forced upon us in these moments. We must act like leaders in our own lives: strong, resolute, but patient, hungry for knowledge, and reaching for love. To survive as a nation and as individuals there still must be a lot of love shared and shown. Extending love when everything else hurts and when fear or frustration prevails is the greatest show of character and strength I know. These difficult times will call on us to be people we have not previously been challenged to be. We will have to find ways to soothe our own hearts, stand up for the ones we love, and reach across the divide to the ones we don’t yet understand. Know this: nothing good will come from us destroying each other.
I know how tempting that is. It is so much easier to face the enemy when you have first made him small with words and beliefs about his actions. But this is not a country of small people. This is a country of giants. This is a country where small efforts go a long way. When I first became sick, hundreds of you came around me to lift me and my family up. That was a deeply human, extraordinary demonstration. Please do not forget the ties that bind us together. Please search for them in the rubble of what has happened and hold on like hell to them. Remember, light is the only thing that extinguishes darkness.
Lead by example. Lead from a place of security and resolve, not from a place of fear and hate. We must ask ourselves to be better than we were yesterday. Without that intention, we may crumble. So please, hear me and hear my belief and faith in you. Let us not lose our family and friends to the actions of the select few that have power above us. Do not be so willing to give away your own power and control. Take back your fierce optimism and resolve to make things better around you. Stand up for one another, hear one another, and don’t buy what they are selling. Make something beautiful instead. I believe in you.
Give ‘Em Hell.