I've been silent on this blog for a very long time, and to be honest, I wasn't sure if I would ever start posting again. Following the events of this week, however, I feel the need to write. My children are too young to fully understand what I want to say, but one day they will read these words, and I pray they will understand the magnitude of this election.
With that being said, I just read an article that colleges across the nation cancelled classes yesterday so that students could "cope" with outcome of the election. I am so tempted to divert on a tangent about the absurdity of this, but instead, I will keep this positive.
It was only fifteen years ago that we stood together as a nation the day after a true national tragedy. On September 12, 2001, we didn't need a day to "cope" because, together, we were strong. We figuratively and literally stood together. We cried together. We prayed together. We served together. We came together to heal and rebuild the country we loved.
I can't help but to wonder what would have happened had we approached those days in the same manner that this younger generation has behaved following this year's election. To put this into perspective, by my calculations, theses kids (who are currently 18-22) would have been 3-7 years old on that tragic day. Where would we be now had we needed a day to "cope" with the aftermath of the terrorist attack in 2001? What would have happened if we had thrown temper-tantrums on social media had it existed? What would we have accomplished by protesting in the streets? Would violent behavior in mass gatherings have sent a message of unity? Would burning our nation's flag (our symbol of freedom) have effectively communicated our frustration?
The truth is that fifteen years ago, we wouldn't have done those things because such behavior does not embody the patriotic spirit in which we take pride. It doesn't show love or acceptance. It doesn't promote peace. It does just the opposite, actually. It creates a world where we are all victims of our circumstances rather influential people capable of conquering our adversities.
While I would not have chosen either candidate to represent this country that I love, I know that the story of this new presidency has yet to be written and that as "one nation under God," we have the ability be apart of a legacy of hope and change. That's because change doesn't start in the Oval Office; it starts in offices across the country when we treat our coworkers with dignity and respect. Change doesn't start on Capitol Hill; it starts on hillsides across the country when we take the time to know, love, and serve our neighbors. Change doesn't start with Senators and national leaders, it starts in classrooms throughout the nation when student leaders see their potential and fully understand that in this country they can be anything they want to be. Change starts and ends with us.
Perhaps Ghandi said it best "Be the change you want to see in the world."
If you don't like something...change it. Change your attitude. Change your perspective. Change your words, your actions, and your behaviors. Change where and how you spend your money so that it serves a true purpose. Change the way you treat the lady in drive thru and the man picking up trash. Change how you speak on social media and what articles you read. Change how you model citizenship for your children. Just remember, that this change has nothing to do with who is president. Change starts with you and me.
I can't think of a better time to start than tomorrow...Veteran's Day. Instead of burning a flag or signing a petition that has no political power, thank a Veteran. Thank him or her for their service. Thank them for the sacrifices they made to defend your freedom. Thank them by attending a school ceremony or buying their lunch. Show them the respect they deserve by embracing the democratic process and accepting the outcome of the election with grace and dignity. Thank them by treating people as if all lives matter while still showing proper respect to the our police officers and other authority figures. Thank them by flying a flag and not burning one. Thank them by being the change you want to see in the world. Thank them because they fought so that you would have the freedom to create the America you envision for the future.