At 14, the last thing on my mind was politics. I was much more concerned with making necklaces out of Mike’s Hard Lemonade bottle caps or what I would wear to the Teddy Geiger concert (swoon). My less than conservative political views, open-minded ideals, and unabashed acceptance for people came later with the 2008 elections. It wasn’t until having my “Obama for President” sticker ripped off of my car while it was parked at church that I realize just how much my ideals clashed with the majority of the people around me.
My youngest sister is discovering this much earlier. At 14, she is defending LGBTQ rights to family members, she is shutting down racist comments made at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and most recently, she is standing up to her peers when it comes to these issues.
It saddens me to realize that at 14, K is more open-minded, outspoken, loving, and accepting than many of the adults that surround her. It saddens me to know that the path she is on, the path of standing up for equality and loving all people, is a path that will cost her friendships and relationships.
But it also makes me an incredibly proud big sister. As I talked with her yesterday, I realized that she is willing to have the hard conversations, willing to risk the friendships and relationships, willing to become “one of those people” in order to stand up for what she believes in. This takes tremendous courage and bravery.
This attitude and desire to be open-minded and accepting of everyone and to promote equality for all – this is what we need more of. This is what gives us hope. This is how we break down the fear that has paralyzed us as a nation. This is how we learn to love.