Election Thoughts: The Rumble, Jolt and Surprise

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We’re all shocked after the elections.  Some are truly happy, some are devastated and there are others that were lacking enthusiasm for however the results panned out either way.  But I think we all can agree that we are surprised by what’s happened.  What has been interesting isn’t the jolt that we’re going to have a presidency that will be dramatically different from what we’ve had maybe ever.  What’s surprising is the manner in which so many of us have handled the rumble.

I see statements that now America is putting behind a corrupt political system.  That if you voted democrat you are for corruption, murder and lies in the White House.  If you’re a democrat you’re okay with letting ISIS into our country via the southern border. Or if you voted republican that you are a misogynist, a racist, anti woman, homophobic and it’s likely you didn’t get a bachelors degree and you’re white. If you voted third party you’re sheeple, a self righteous purist, an idiot for throwing your vote away and it actually was a vote for the bad guy.

Congratulations, we all have been called things that are untrue.

I have some sincere questions and thoughts to share with you my dear reader for whom I have empathy and a deep respect for.  I get how exciting, joyful, apathetic and maddening it all is right now and I want nothing more than for you to feel heard. I know that your view matters greatly.  But I want you to consider how much your opinion matters.

Where do we consider drawing a line in the sand to rein in our opinions?  How much value is in the weight of your words and is it worth polarizing yourself from the other half of the country?

By your passion to let your voice be heard you’re enjoying the right we have to a voice as Americans and it’s at the cost of your respect for a significant portion of the people you share life with.  Here’s the hinge that this ramble is about.  Does your opinion cut you off from others?  If it does, is it seriously worth it?  If your opinion requires insults, belittlement and costing relationship with half of the country I’m sorry, but you are closed minded.  I find it genuinely confusing to see so many say that others need to have an open mind and yet after the election I see the very same people say that they will have nothing to do with anyone who voted for opponent of their favored candidate.

And finally, have you even considered how hard it is to hate someone and what their views are if you were looking them in the eye while trying to prove them wrong?

Don’t let this be the beginning of division.  Let this be an opportunity to stop commenting on every post that provides an opposing argument and instead suggest meeting that person across the table for coffee so you can find a window of understanding into how they formed that view.  Challenge yourself.  See if you can call someone a racist to their face after you take the time to really see them.  I’m thinking it would be tough to call someone an ISIS promoter if you found out why they feel the way they do.

Take the chance to see people.  Use this season as the means to become more loving, more empathetic and to not forget that the other half of the country that voted differently than you are authentic and good people for the most part.  They’re parents who want to see it better for their kids and grand kids.  They’re owners of that business you love in your community.  They’re your coworkers, employers and customers.  They’re your family.  Your children.  Each person despite of who they voted for is a chance to love and honor them for being as human as you are.

Handle the the surprise with grace.  Recognize the jolt and be humble.  See the goodness of so many people who are different than you.  Realize we’re all gonna grow from this.  See that as individuals we face the choice to make America be great not because it ever lost greatness but because we are what makes it such if we’re in it together.

 

With so much love,

Sara

Fly Fishing: Whitefish, Clinton and Trump

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I’m a poor sport with fly fishing when the following occasions occur:

Getting Snagged.

Losing a fish.

Catching no fish.

Catching a whitefish.

I could elaborate on all of those situations but I’m gonna just delve into the last one on the list.  If you have ever caught a whitefish, you’ll know what I mean when I say that they’re not much of a looker in comparison to most trout.  I think they’re annoying to fight cause they’re lazy fighters.  I hate getting flies out of their mouths cause they have these little sucker mouths that make it tough to maneuver around.  Their scales are course.  Worst of all, when I just wanna catch some trout it seems that the whitefish are perpetually blocking all my efforts by being more eager than their neighbors to take my fly.

But that’s just my opinion.

Whitefish are actually a unique fish in that they’re one of the few native species in Montana river systems.  There are other anglers out there who would argue with me in saying that they’re a prize and that my negative opinion is wrong.  My beloved favorites such as the brown and rainbow trout actually originated from other parts of the globe and it could be argued that they don’t belong here, even though I sure as hell like them here.  There are even talks of efforts to try to eradicate them from the lakes and rivers of Yellowstone Park since they’re nonnative species which would mean having only the smaller and more boring options of arctic grayling and whitefish.  Don’t quote me on that; it’s just a rumor.  So here’s my question for you:  I’m right for having the opinion I do, right?

I have no desire to raise hair on the back of any of your necks but I thought I would share with you how I feel my dislike for whitefish correlates with what I see and hear from friends and media about the election season we’re currently observing.  I see people say that they’ll refuse to be friends with anyone who would dare vote for Hillary or that everyone heartless is supporting Trump.  I see friends doing a decent job of voicing their opinion for why they see the next Hitler on the horizon of American politics and it’s certainly not the candidate they’re voting for.  There are insults, indecent language, and so many other things that we wouldn’t had thought at one time to be respectable behavior with which to treat fellow human beings that we are now okay with, and this applies especially to social media.

I could go on about all that I’ve noticed so I’ll settle on a single point. Amidst demonizing the opposing argument, have you ever paused to step off of the political rant train you’re riding on to take eight seconds to understand that whoever disagrees with you genuinely doesn’t feel like a bad person for voting who they voting for.  If people were inherently stupid, mean, and evil for supporting the wrong candidate that would mean that half of the country is wicked.  It means some of your family is evil, that some of your friends are bigots, and that you probably ought to buy an island and live away from all the other humans out there who see things differently.  It means you might need to consider your emotional and mental capacity to process confrontation, understand varying beliefs, and different values.

Do whitefish suck? Yes. Do I have conviction?  Yes.  Do I think one candidate is better than the other? Yes (not by much).  Are there good people and evil people?  Yes.  But most people are striving to be and truly are good people.  I believe you should stand for what you feel is right.  You absolutely should be able to articulate why you think and feel the way you do and to do it with passion and dignity.  I think that passivity is as equally harmful as outright degradation.  BUT, I feel that we can accomplish standing for belief without tearing down our fellow human being across the table.  If you really feel a candidate is completely wrong for the presidential bid, stop with ripping them apart and change your argument to why you think who you see is right is actually right for the job.  We already have so much to work on in our daily within our own relationships, finances and decisions that to find ways to make ourselves feel significant by being derisive is a sad waste of emotion and energy.  To make what is wrong with the world the focus of your heart is to give praise to evil.

Instead of perpetually saying that x, y, and z is what’s wrong with you and society, my hope is that I could find what is good to ponder upon and to choose what I can do to actually make a change where I want to see change.  I think this starts with my conversations with my spouse, my friends and all the other people within my daily with whom I have interaction.  It can begin with starting a conversation without the intent to belittle, convince, or bash while being confident in what I value.  What if you just choose for a day to acknowledge what is good, noble and true?  What if you didn’t jump to insulting your friend who is supporting Trump or Hillary and instead think about why you value that person in the first place?

Seek the good in the world.  Find reasons to give praise to those who have insulted you.  Affirm what you can agree upon and tip your hat when you have been outdone by the argument.  And every once in awhile when you pull a whitefish out of the water, be grateful that there’s a healthy and thriving native species in the river.

But don’t tell me that trout don’t belong here.  I don’t want to talk to you and I don’t want to be friends.  Just kidding, I still do.

With so much love,

Sara