When you’re at a loss for words, what do you do?
You sit, you take to your keyboard and you assume a vessel posture.
Like the rest of the country, I’m stunned by the state of our nation. Our country is what we are geographically, but our nation represents who we say we are.
It seems to me that we’ve never been more divided. Yet it’s one thing to be divided; it’s quite another to be bunkered-up in self-imposed silos.
I’ve never seen anything like this. In the course of a single day, I’ve watched some people dancing while others were crying. And yet, it’s not the dancing or the crying that concern me. It’s the chasm that exists between the two and the refusal of the dancer to reach out to the crier and the crier to reach out to the person who’s dancing.
I am profoundly concerned. I don’t want to worry because worrying is completely counterproductive. Yet I’m deeply concerned because during this past election, so many people who had powerful voices chose not to use them. Clearly, they had more pressing priorities.
If nothing else, this election should probably go down as a cautionary tale. Regardless of who won and who lost, the lesson is clear; you must SHOW UP.
Not too long ago, I wrote an essay called, “How to Show Up.” I wrote that essay because I’ve been witnessing far too many people doing just the opposite. They’re not showing up. And when they do show up, they’re not present.
I feel as if we’re losing our world because people simply won’t be present … in this moment. And it’s not a matter of being “too busy.” Even when we’re super busy, we find time to focus on what’s extremely important to us.
Look … I’m no one’s judge. I can barely get to the dentist on time. Yet there seems to be this huge disconnect between how people perceive themselves, their lives and their actions (or lack thereof) and the way they characterize the state of the world. They think the world is so huge and that they don’t influence this world at all.
I beg to differ. What we do or don’t do as individuals has a huge, cumulative impact on the world. It just does. People who don’t want to admit to this because they’re just, “Little Ole Me” are being falsely modest and they simply don’t want to accept responsibility for anything. However, I believe that our refusal to accept responsibility makes us even more responsible.
We have to show up. We have to show up for ourselves, we have to show up for people in our lives and we have to show up for the nation.
We’re now seeing thousands of people all across the nation who are protesting the results of our election. Many of those people voted, but where were they before the election? Did they volunteer to help get out the vote? Did they urge their friends, loved ones and even strangers to vote?
Did they show up when it really mattered?
If you copped out during the past election, you’re directly responsible for the outcome … by default. The outcome is sitting right on your shoulders. When you abstained from voting, you aided the momentum. The role you played - or didn't play - wasn't only undeniable, it was pivotal.
How can you not see that this is true?
Oh, sorry. I forgot. You don’t want to accept responsibility. That's how.
You may not like our new leaders, but they are indeed our new leaders. Democracy means you don’t always get your way. Democracy is no joke. It’s serious business that works best … before and during the actual election. It requires us to show up as opposed to copping out.
I’ve been chatting with people who’ve been saying …
“THANK GOD IT’S OVER!”
Believe me, I totally get it. However, that statement is completely without merit. It’s NOT over. This is a new beginning. Whether you like or dislike our new – or old – leaders, this is all on YOU.
It’s now our responsibility to hold our leaders accountable for what we want them to do and for what we don’t want them to do. Regardless of whether you voted or not, your work is not over.
When you say, “Thank God it’s over!” you’re climbing right back into your bunkered-up, self-imposed silo. Being politically, culturally and socially aware and activated are the price we pay for being able to spend Saturdays watching, “Million Dollar Listing LA (or NY, but I prefer LA)” marathons on TV.
This is no time for timid mice. It never has been. It’s time for informed, connected, compassionate and strong warriors who believe that America is a place for everyone. It’s time for you to put your energy and commitment where your mouth is.
But more importantly, now is the time for you to realize – at last – that at the end of the day, you have to show up. You have to show up when it really matters.
Protesting after the fact is like being late for the party. Protesting the day after Election Day is like pulling up to the airport terminal after your flight has taken off.
It’s just too late.
However, that said, Thank God that we have the right to protest. We can and should assemble and protest if we wish, but being engaged, activated and actually showing up before the fact remains the very best strategy for anything ... political or not.
But as I said, whether you like the outcome or not, this election should probably go down as a cautionary tale.