Inauguration Day is here again, but today I am not excited to see anything nor am I feeling positive about the incoming administration. On November 9th, I felt such despair and shock that I spent most of the day crying. I imagine there were lots of folks who either did the same or perhaps they were rejoicing that their candidate won. Either way, as my brain and heart ran through a gamut of emotions much like someone who grieves a death. I spent weeks grieving and was vocal about my feelings on my social media accounts. There were varied comments about President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump but my post today is not about debating the merits of one person versus another. There is something more at stake here.
In the weeks following the election, I found the attitudes of people on both sides of the argument to sometimes be dismissive or disrespectful of what the other side might be experiencing. It seemed all decorum had been lost. After a particularly contentious campaign and election, some expressed unfettered hatred of those who were different from them in some way while others including myself shared fears. I am talking here about those who might be part of the LGBTQ community, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, anti-abortion, pro-choice, Democrat, Republican, Independent, black, white, brown, or whatever group(s) you may belong to. While none of us agree on everything, we are all people – human beings.
Whichever side you may be on, in a few hours, we will have a new president. Although he is a different man than President Obama, we will still be the same people we were before and after the election. We can still choose to do the right thing and treat other people with respect. I am far from perfect as most of us are but there are two things we have in common though. We are responsible for our own thoughts and our own actions.
On this inauguration day, let us remember to be kind and respectful of others while we express our feelings and support for our causes over the next four years. Given the beliefs and practices of the incoming administration, many will lose the freedoms and rights they have gained in the last eight years. Many will be targeted and many are fearful of what life may be for them. If you are reading this and think they are being silly for feeling this way, your opinion does not negate their feelings. For those who may mistake respect and kindness for weakness, let this be a challenge to you. Denying what I say does not invalidate my message.