I just don't get it. The thoughts I share are born from my mind and heart, not spawned from allegiance to or disdain of a particular leader. Then again, we arrive to this place of adulthood, each laden with our own baggage, a quite personal set of suitcases.
Our suitcases are often heavy, filled with tales that may include wealth and privilege or a childhood spent sleeping on a cold floor, hard working parents or those who were raised by relatives, parents battling their own demons, perhaps drug addiction, a history of sexual abuse. Our adult models may have aligned themselves with democrats or republicans and some may have never voted. Our baggage quite complicates things and though we run from the hard truth, it is tattooed on our souls.
I was raised by conservative parents, though I attended private schools whose professors were largely liberal. I struggled to identify my own thoughts and questioned how to neatly deposit my beliefs into a proper political envelope. I never have quite figured out where I fit. I've voted for Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump and have shared my reasons why or why not at the time. I support any person's choice of candidate if they take the time to think critically and vote.
I have written a blog in much the same fashion. I share my own truth, not your truth and not the truth of a political party. I go with the angle that feels right to me and I acknowledge the role my own history of experiences play in the choices I make or view to which I connect. For example, having a son with special needs has propelled me to speak up for Medicaid, become educated on its purpose and who it serves, largely the elderly and folks with disabilities, children like my Amos.
Last week, I shared a letter to Trump that was written by a black astronaut who, I felt, had masterfully woven his thoughts regarding the constitution. I simply shared a letter that I felt was well construed and I lost over one hundred followers. I can not be sure, but I feel fairly safe in my belief that it was the Trump camp that bid me farewell. Furthermore, I was chastised to stay out of politics and "stick to motherhood."
Over the weekend, I penned a letter to a public school librarian who wrote a thank you note filled with far more criticism than appreciation. I was bitterly disappointed with the educator, who though made wonderful points, took a school and used it to make a stand politically. Can you imagine what may have happened if she had written a real thank you note and then reached out quietly with some suggestions? Valid points shrouded in disdain are likened to a filet being served on a trash can lid. Her thoughtful truths were discarded because of the manner in which they were served. Again, dozens of folks lambasting me, telling me goodbye, angrily saying I support an administration that is raping our schools, my views the very essence of white privilege. Interestingly enough, several of those who cried foul with my librarian letter, cheered me on with my astronaut letter.
Yesterday, I was forced to add a third story. A tale of a man who owned more than 40 firearms and killed 59 people. Fifty nine families destroyed and broken in a moment and so, I said no more. I stated that the photos of lifeless bodies should persuade us to ponder the open ended right to bear arms. Guns are not the same as semi-automatic weapons and if they were, I wouldn't be speaking about the worst mass shooting in American history. The conservatives scolded me: guns don't kill without evil people to pull the trigger, people will always find them, killers will stop at nothing and find a way, I was told again and again. Well, if we lived in a country where assault weapons were banned (they are not), we could say to those families, "we have done the very best we could do." Again, more followers fled and really it's not the numbers that are the problem.
To be lauded only when it suits those who are ruled by politics is a hard rain on a struggling fire. The fickleness is so demeaning though perhaps I am the one that is not playing by the rules. Until we relinquish our truths and refuse to align our views with a political affiliation, no divide will be crossed and eventually, most will tire of treading water. I, however, shall never stop swimming for shore, truth as my guide. Will you join me?