So, fair warning, the top part of this post is about the election. I know, I know. I have gone back and forth on whether or not to include the below. I’m not afraid of losing a few readers, I don’t think a single person will change their mind about anything, and I realize what done is done. So why did I write it after going back and forth for multiple sleepless nights? I sure wish I knew. I don’t have an answer for you, but I felt called to finally just hit “publish”. I still can’t explain why. So, if you are so over anything election related, pretend these lines below this paragraph are happy little bunnies on the screen. Scroll past those cute little fuzz balls, and it is safe to stop scrolling and start reading when you see a video (of my mom).
I have written and rewritten parts of this post multiple times. Just when I finally think it is exactly what I want to convey, I think of something else, or a friend says something and then I edit it again. I even completely deleted the first post I asked my friend to preview for me. So yeah, I’m sorry to waste your time Elaina.
Just consider this post a stream of conscious, and maybe a working document? It’s not perfect, but it is honest, and is trying its best to see both sides. Just like me.
So the election. Deep breaths everyone. I don’t know if this will be exactly what you expect it to be. And if it is, and you sighed initially, then my bad and I’m sorry. Check back tomorrow for something more light-hearted.
I am a hard person to pin down politically. Many people think I am easily in one camp, and then they find out that I actually worked for two Republican members of the Washington State Legislature for three years (2002-2005), and we are gun owners (bet you didn’t see THAT coming! 🙂 ). I get it, I’m confusing. And if you think about yourself, you probably are too. You likely don’t fit a pretty mold when it comes to always voting a certain way.
I’ve always been extremely proud of being an independent. I’ve always researched the person and the issue, and felt free and happy to be able to vote my conscience without aligning to any party. The members of the legislature I worked for both had values that I felt comfortable with. And the guns? They’re Troy’s. He does competitive target shooting when he has a chance. I’d get in to it more, but frankly, it is so nerdy I am just going to stop right there. They are locked up tight, and the kids have zero access to them. I’m not a huge gungho advocate for owning firearms, but we have them and I believe that access to a gun is part of our country’s history. Do I think I need or deserve or am entitled to own an automatic high-capacity weapon? No. Do I think we should have to go through a background check to own our guns? Yes. Do I know how to use them? Yes. Would I use them if the life of my family was in danger? Yes.
My support for the military is unwavering. I’ve lived near a military community for years, and I was even the company commander of our high school JROTC company. Even though it is not remotely actual military service, you don’t spend three years in uniform without having the utmost respect for our men and women who serve.
To recap, gun owning crunchy chick who has worked for the Republican party, and spent three years in junior ROTC. Let’s go ahead and add supporter of gay marriage, reproductive rights, affordable healthcare for all (with protection for those with pre-existing conditions), desire for the government to be fiscally responsible with the taxpayer’s money, and affordable public education to my tally. I also find it morally reprehensible to prevent access to affordable and reliable birth control, and then turn our backs on single parents who chose to have the child they never wanted in the first place. If a baby is a choice, than that same baby/child should not later be viewed as societal burden.
Independent. Me. Got it?
I haven’t hidden my distaste for these two candidates, or the 2016 election. Had the primaries turned out differently, I may have been excited about other candidates on either side. I don’t know. It never got to that point, so we were left with two choices that the vast majority of us felt a big giant “meh” about. And it showed; almost 50% of eligible voters did not vote in this election cycle. Voter turnout was at an all time low. And yet, anger and apathy was at an all-time high. Regardless of who won the election, only 25% of the population would be making the decision for 100% of the country.
And today? Today I am sad.
I’m sad that there are already instances of empowered hate groups finding targets in the wake of the election.
I’m sad that schools all over this country are sending letters home asking parents to help their kids know that the bullying (by both sides) they have seen over the last year is not ok. It is not ok for kids to act like that, and god knows it was never ok for adults to act like that.
I’m sad that my son saw someone make fun of disabled people – like both of his grandparents – and it was deemed “ok” by voters.
I’m sad that as the daughter of two people who have immense medical needs through no fault of their own, could be in danger of losing health care coverage. The repeal of the very imperfect Affordable Care Act could mean allowing insurance companies to deny based on pre-existing conditions. My parents are the freaking poster children for pre-existing conditions. Currently one of them is facing another shoulder replacement, and another who drinks about three glasses of wine a year is facing advanced liver cancer. Recent articles have indicated the pre-existing condition may be kept with any future revision of the Act, but for those who face an emergent health crisis, “may” is still a scary term.
I’m sad thinking of how much anger and despair there is in communities who are facing staggering unemployment/underemployment, crime, drug abuse, etc., to make them vote for hope for the promise of a new type of government, even if it means overlooking the fear that has been stirred up.
I’m sad for people who voted due to the influence of electing a new supreme court. I can understand needing to vote your conscience, and I wish there had been less decisive choices for your candidate selection.
I’m sad, because as far as I can tell, a candidate backed by the KKK has always been a non-starter in this country since the civil rights era.
I’m sad that this election was a loss of innocence for me as an independent. A commentator on one of the channels I was watching on election night summed it best by saying “the blue states are getting bluer, and the red states are getting redder”. It has moved from “I support this person’s agenda” to “who scares me the least”. And, I don’t have the solution. Is it becoming a three party system? Who knows. Is it doing away with the electoral college, which was partly set up to make sure that the number of slaves in a state didn’t skew population numbers? Who knows. Empowering more to vote, because they are offered better candidates? Probably. But who knows.
And if I, a white, middle class, hetero, Christian am sad, I can’t imagine the fear and anger felt by communities that were targeted during the election. You cannot spend 15 months scaring the ever-loving shit out of people based on where they were born or how they choose to pray, and then call for peace and unity.
We received the following as part of a longer email this week from a bishop in our regional church family (if you aren’t religious it is still a great message):
After a long, contentious and often painful election process, we have voted in new leaders at both the local and national levels, including a new president-elect. Most of us cared deeply about this election and so we find ourselves experiencing powerful emotions in these “days after”. Among us there is shock, delight, despair, or numbness, depending on how we voted.
As I sort through all my reactions, I find myself hearing Martin Luther asking us this question, “What is God calling you to do?” After the shock, the grief or the euphoria subsides, what constitutes right action?
One of our callings, said Luther, is that we hold the office of “citizen”, called to work for the health, well-being and justice of our entire community. That is particularly true in our government “of the people, by the people and for the people.” However, along with the many specific issues that we must address as a nation, such as employment and the environment, there is a deeper, fundamental ingredient that we must restore. We are being called to rebuild trust and a sense of community within our cities and country.
Trust right now is a very scary idea. I do not dismiss an ounce of fear that communities are feeling right now. I don’t have any solutions. I don’t have the answers, and I certainly don’t know what the next four years will look like. I can only control my own reaction to it, and be the best influence possible for my kids. And I can pray that whatever happens next, sanity, civility, and safety for all Americans will prevail.
*If you choose to comment, I request civility and respect for those reading. If you are pissed off at me, fine, email me directly. If what you choose to say in the comments section would result in a time out in any preschool class in this country, I restrict the right to delete comments. Not because I can’t take it (I can), but because we’re all just exhausted from anger right now m’kay.
So, a few weeks ago after sharing the news of my mom’s cancer diagnosis, a lovely and kind blog reader named Stephanie reached out to me. Stephanie makes hand dyed silk scarfs (I’m assuming magic is involved?), and was wondering if she thought my mom might want one. A little something new and pretty to wear to treatments, or when she is feeling down. We talked colors and preferences and such, and a short time later, a gorgeous scarf arrived for my mom. The video above is the SECOND part of her unwrapping it, because my mom is the worlds slowest person when it comes to unwrapping anything. Christmas will be upon us before she finishes unwrapping her first piece of Halloween candy.
Anyway, with the trauma and drama the country has faced in the last week, the kindness of a complete stranger may make you believe in good again. It was one of the sweetest things that I have had happen. I also found out Stephanie has an Etsy store if you are interested in your own handmade piece of happiness. She did not ask me to promote her page or anything like that, but I adore sharing the love when given the chance.
Friday, my sister and I implemented a morning of intrigue. I had conspired to get my dad out of the house early that day, and when he left, she swooped in and together we cleaned out his garage. It was supposed to be organized and tidy when they moved in almost 18 months ago. But, the shelving he had imagined never worked out, and as things often go, it became an epic craphole.
We started by cleaning everything out. Everything.
Troy was in on the intrigue, and put together some shelving in secret in our garage the day before. He also helped install some pegboard, and other wall hanging items.
We found not one, but two fake legs.
We finished up about the second my dad pulled in to the driveway. He was shocked and excited, and very thankful. He was also able to park his car in the garage for the first time in almost two years.
During the clean out, my sis and I listened to a few podcasts. I have been secretly loving and hating you all for suggesting so many amazing podcasts last week. I haven’t had a chance to check them all out, but am loving the ones I have listened to thus far: Brains On! (this was suggested for Jack, and he loves it), Stuff You Should Know, Criminal, Disclosure (omg, the ANSWERS I needed from Serial. ANSWERS people).
Meal plan time!
Monday:: Jack’s school is having a fundraiser. No cooking by me! Just paying.
Wednesday:: Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and some sort of vegetable (shopping on Monday). I’m working on a mashed potato post for Thanksgiving, and we need a delicious taste test.
Thursday:: Jack’s soccer team is having their end of the year party. No cooking by me! Just paying.
Friday:: Popcorn dinner
Saturday:: Soup! Probably a big bowl full of A.S.S, dutch oven bread, and a salad.
Sunday:: Family dinner
What are you having this week?