Fear not, there will be quilt photos interspersed throughout this post. This is a quilting blog, not a political blog, but this election season (I believe it’s been going on for over a year now, so “season” is a bit of a misnomer) has taken its toll on my soul and psyche and I just need to vent a bit.
If you live within the United States, then you probably share my frustration and embarrassment over what has been playing out here. This election seems to have brought out the worst in people, and I’m not just talking about the candidates. When I listen to the news, I am so disheartened by the way people speak to one another and treat one another. I can’t remember a time when it was “ok” to be so disrespectful and society just turned a blind eye, as if it’s no big deal. We’re talking about grown adults who sound like children in a schoolyard hurtling insults at one another. Everything is fair game and nothing is sacred. Sexism, racism, fascism have all been “justified” as if they are ok. It’s kind of like a civilized society has gone back decades in time in its view of how we should view and treat one another.
I don’t know anyone who feels really great about his or her “chosen” candidate. You can’t really vote for anyone in this election without ignoring some pretty awful transgressions because no one has a clean slate. That’s part of what gnaws away at your soul, because you can’t vote without simultaneously endorsing someone’s wrongdoing. By voting, you’ve dipped your toe into the cesspool that surrounds you, so now you’re part of the muck. At the same time, you can’t “not vote,” because the stakes are simply way too high.
I know many of you reading this live outside the US and I feel compelled to tell you that you have been witnessing the very worst side of our society. Personally, I’m so ashamed to be seen the way the rest of the world must see us now. I feel genuinely scared about the future, more than I ever have, because we are such a fractured and angry country right now. People are acting with impulsivity and expect not to deal with consequences. We come across like people who have no sense of right and wrong, no sense of fairness or equality, no sense of empathy or understanding, and no concern for anything other than our piggish wants and needs. I feel like I’ve been watching a really bad reality TV show that’s gone on for months. (And this is coming from someone who watches all of the Real Housewives, so that says a lot!)
In my non-quilting life, I am a hospice physician. My job is all about connecting with people, and connecting with them quickly. I need to figure out “where they’re coming from,” what matters to them, and how I can best communicate with them. This means I have to really pay attention to what they’re saying to me and how they’re saying it in order to pick up on subtle cues. Respecting their values and opinions, even when they are not mine, is key. Lately, I feel like my job is the only place left where people routinely hold one another to this kind of accountability. What happened to just valuing one another as human beings? What about respecting the fact that your political views are different from your next door neighbor? Do we all have to agree on everything to get along and actually be kind to one another?
If I sound morose, I guess I am. A part of me feel broken inside after months of this ridiculous back and forth that is endlessly playing on newscasts and in news feeds.
I don’t want to end this blog post on a negative note, so I won’t. I guess I’ll just say that I’m hoping that whoever wins this election, the bickering, name calling, and posturing will stop. We really need to put forth an effort to accomplish something together and stop focusing on why we can’t find some form of a middle ground where everyone has a bit of a say in what happens going forward.
Here’s hoping that we find that middle ground…