Twitter was all a-twitter on election night.
One guy wrote this:
“Go Obama! Now don’t f*@# up!”
This line has haunted me over and over again these past two days as I’ve listened to the people in my life, and as I’ve taken in their stories.
The morning after the election, a little girl I know went to her classroom to find two of her classmates at the chalkboard. The teacher wasn’t there yet. And the two boys had written: “Today’s Lesson: Kill Obama” in bold letters.
The day after the election, I told a friend on the phone about my excitement. She paused. She said she wasn’t excited. She had voted for McCain.
My stomach churned. I was tempted – as I’m sure she was – to hang up the phone and stop further communication with her. But I remembered how awful I felt after the election 4 years ago, so I took a deep breath and listened.
I didn’t agree with anything she said. And she didn’t agree with anything I said. We didn’t argue. We just shared our thoughts. (I’m not much of a debater. If I were at a podium trying to do it, I’d probably wink.) It was intensely awkward. And we took the conversation in a different direction, agreeing to let it go.
I know people who would tell me never to speak with this person again. But that would make me sad. I adore her. I learn a lot from her. She learns from me too.
My husband received an email from a friend of his yesterday. His friend wrote that while he would love to celebrate the victory – it was pretty hard to be a gay man and recognize that not one, but three states voted against his rights. He was embarrassed to be sad among all the happy people – but that’s just how he felt.
Today, I was talking to a man about not giving in to all of the divisiveness that the campaigns brought out. He said, “Well we’ve had 8 years of their sh–. Now we get to give it back to them.”
I’m a little more mellow today. If you ask me, the Tweeter missed the point entirely.
His attitude is exactly what keeps us in our rut — thinking that regardless of what we do or how we show up, we are entitled. That it doesn’t matter how we act or react, or how negative and mean we are. That it’s all up to someone else. “I’ve done my part. I voted. Now, you fix this mess. I’m gonna go back and watch Family Guy.”
After all didn’t Gandhi tell us to BE the change we wish to see in the world? Doesn’t that mean that we have opportunity after opportunity to decide to end the anger and derisiveness, no matter who “started it,” and in spite of how uncomfortable we feel?
If that’ so, then each of us is the President-elect. Each of us is a leader.
Perhaps we should each be tweeting his message – albeit more positively – to ourselves.