I tuned into the Republican National Convention and listened and I was moved – moved to despair and anger. It reinforced my despair over where our country is moving, what horrible shape our country is in, how weak and hated we are around the world. I have been discouraged when I looked for substance in Donald Trump’s speeches but all I found were long diatribes about nothing. I have been puzzled as he dodged answering questions about policy by changing the subject – usually several times in one sentence. I have been stunned by his name-calling, his spewing of anger, how he feeds his followers garbage as they cheer him on. And most of all, I’m appalled by the bold-faced lies he tells (75% of his fact-checked statements are false). I no longer listen to his speeches because it is impossible to discern which 25% of his statements are believable. After following him for a year I see that he is uninformed about the most basic ways our government is structured and functions, he lies about his accomplishments and about others, he believes he is smarter than anyone else and thus doesn’t need anyone else to give counsel, he is a bully who shows disrespect for people who don’t support and follow him, he believes that the best way to live in the world is by being stronger and meaner than the anyone else, he lacks humility, he has a disregard for truth, data, and learning, and I don’t agree with his appraisal of our country and our military. This isn’t what I was taught as I was growing up, what I affirm in my statements of faith, and what I have learned to be true as I have aged.
And I was moved to despair as I wondered why 40% of the electorate aren’t seeing what I am seeing. This isn’t a difference in policy, which I can accept and we can just agree to disagree. What I am seeing is a willingness to become a bully because a major political figure is standing up and saying that bullying is strength and leadership. I began to question why I wanted to be an American. I didn’t like the personal character and values I was seeing broadcast around the world for our friends and enemies to see.
I tuned into the Democratic National Convention and listened and I was moved. I was moved to tears as I heard speaker after speaker talk about our American heritage, the values that our country is built upon. I cried when I heard speaker after speaker explain how we still demonstrate those values – those of us who work hard and care about others in our large cities and small towns, from our northern border with Canada to our southern states, from the vast differences between the east coast, to the midwest, on to the Pacific. I cheered as all people were recognized and respected; people with all shades of skin and genetic connections to all parts of the world, people with varied gender identities, people who look different and who think different ideas. Did you hear, all you people? You matter and I want to join hands with you as we continue to build on what we value and do so well in this wonderful country. We need to join hands with all those people around the world who share our visions of freedom and peace and mutual love.
And I was moved to being inspired as I listened to all the people who told me about the woman who I had heard repeatedly was “Crooked Hillary.” I was moved to understand that this woman who has been under public scrutiny for so very many years, who has had all her warts and blemished and misjudgments brandished in public, has also accomplished so much. It was like having a fog lifted from my mind as I realized that this woman has lived a life of service, has a dedication to making the world a better place, stands up for those who are powerless instead of exploiting them. Yes, Patricia, there are compassionate people in politics. I don’t have to agree with all of her policies because they will be worked out through the process of compromise and governing for the common good (if we can move beyond a party of NO). I want to vote for a leader who is committed to improving our country, our environment, and our world; someone we can trust to hold this commitment because she has demonstrated it her whole adult life.
And I was moved, really moved, when Hillary Clinton gave her acceptance speech. I sobbed as I watched the first woman be nominated by a major party to run for President of the United States. I cried the sorrow of remembering when men said that a woman could never be President of the United States because they (men) couldn’t trust us with the nuclear button because of our female hormone fluctuations. I cried the confusion of being a girl in school looking at history books and seeing page after page of men – with only an occasional footnote about women (Pocahontas?), feeling ashamed and outraged when I learned that all MEN created equal under the law really did mean men, but not even all men. As I watched history being made in the U.S. as Sec. Clinton made her acceptance speech, I also felt the shame that so many other countries have been led by women, but we have been so slow to acknowledge that women can be capable, competent, compassionate, strong leaders.
And I was moved to tears as I felt the full impact of witnessing history being made. I was moved that, as a country, we took one more step forward to recognize that women really are included in that arcane exclusionary phrase “all men.” Maybe it is time to make a major change in our language to be more inclusive and descriptive – to rewrite our constitution to include women so that when our daughters and granddaughters and great-granddaughters read it they will recognize themselves.
My motivation for finally putting these thoughts into words is The Daily Post’s one-word prompt, Profound.