Midnight Musings

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. 

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Will Love Win?

As hard as it’s been, I’ve tried my best to stay out of political conversations over the past few months. Not only am I not really sure that I LOVE any candidate at this point, but I also believe that everyone is indeed entitled to their own opinion. That being said, once an opinion begins to outwardly evoke hate, I can no longer quietly sit by and ignore what’s being said.

In the past few weeks, I’ve seen post after post of hate. Hate against all different groups of people – the LGBTQ community, Syrian refugees, Mexicans, Planned Parenthood, the list goes on. I saw the hate before this, I’ve posted about it before, but I don’t think I necessarily realized how close to home it’s gotten. These most recent posts have been from my very own family and friends on Facebook.

To think that in 2016, there is so much fear and misunderstanding in America that one man (shout out to Mr. Trump) can unite a campaign fueled entirely by hate is mind-blowing. It sickens me to see this disgusting and twisted campaign gaining so much support, and it scares me to think of the fate of America if he is elected.

Last night I watched a video of a fictional child refugee fleeing her home country in search of safety. Once it was over, I read the comments. I cried as I read one man’s comment that Syrian refugees were “cancerous rodents” that he refused to let destroy America. I reported this man and his Facebook account was deleted. There were many positive comments in response to his negativity, but I also know that he isn’t alone in this way of thinking.

My time abroad truly opened my eyes to the fact that usually, America cares way too much about things that don’t matter, and way too little about things that do.

Things that don’t really matter – if there is someone of the opposite sex in the stall beside of you or at the sink washing their hands. Side note – I happen to love the gender neutral bathrooms I’ve encountered in Europe…they’re much cleaner than most gender specific bathrooms in the states, and I’ve never felt unsafe. GASP!

Things that do matter – human lives. Not just the American ones – all of them. No matter the race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, etc.

So, why don’t we stop with the hate. Stop with the supporting of the hate campaigns. Stop with the fear and the misunderstanding of people who might be a little different than us. Let’s help each other out. Let’s live and let live. Let’s welcome these (and other) refugees with open arms, love on them, and help them through the hard times they are encountering. Let’s love.