Global citizens. That’s what I want my children to be. At some point before the final votes came through last night, I fell asleep or my body gave out from exhaustion. This morning, upon waking up, my social media feeds were filled with confusion, fear, helplessness, and worry. Somehow, I found this a bit reassuring but it was what I saw sprinkled in between that I found unsettling. Beyond posts trying to reassure and promote unity, some admitted they didn’t vote for her or him because they never figured HE could possibly win. Others are trying to reassign responsibility for voting this reprehensible man into the highest office by implying that it says a lot about the opposing candidate. While I appreciate attempts at spreading good juju for the better good, I can’t help but wonder if that is all part of our problem. The problem that we seem unwilling to stand up and take responsibility as adults, because it’s easier to throw side eye emoji’s and “toss shade” around on social media.
We Need a Nation of Global Citizens to Stand Up
I’m left to wonder if these collective posts are the very reason we find ourselves watching Hillary Clinton deliver a concession speech this morning. It may just be me that was naive to think our country would realize that voting for Trump (or not voting) was a nod to oppressing the rights of women, minorities, the LGBT community, and basically anyone other than white heterosexual males. Using a look back to say one did not realize she would need their vote was probably not intentional ignorance, nor should it be mistaken as arrogance. It was hope that genuinely we were farther along as a civilized country than we clearly are. Sweeping it under the rug this morning doesn’t help any of us.
The reality is there must have been many closet Trump supporters, and that is the only place I can find opportunity in this mess. In the dark and crowded closets that are hoarding those who are desperate for a change at any cost, to the underbelly of prejudice, racism, and sexism that thinks it can hide, it is time to flick the switch. Shine the light on the problems and take a real step towards acknowledging issues so we grow into stronger citizens. Not just for our country, but on a global level. After all, we are all sharing the same planet.
Global Citizens do More than Fight Facebook Wars
Now, I’m not sure if I buy what I’m saying either, but as a mom with a young daughter and son, I have to figure this out. Sure I can talk about the inspiration of Pantsuit Nation, a secret Facebook group that grew to 3 million members in days, but using just words without showing action doesn’t cut it now. I could avoid controversy on my blog and be smart by not posting my political opinions, but it wouldn’t be honest. Besides, like you, I only got about 3 hours sleep. If this generation is willing to build a wall, we need to teach the next generation how to be strong enough to tear it down. What actions can we take as parents to raise stronger global citizens?
- Volunteer and offer to help someone. A neighbor. A friend. An elderly person.
- Demonstrate compassion without trying to judge others that you know nothing about.
- Pay it forward with no expectation of anything in return.
- Use your voice, and remember actions speak louder than words.
- Educate yourself and stand up for what you believe in.
As a nurse, I constantly use analogies to break down difficult clinical jargon not just for a patient, but for myself. It helps me process information and this election is no different. In this instance, I have to use cancer. I despise cancer for what it does to people we love and what it has taken from us all. Cancer cells are unlike normal cells because they have lost their self-control mechanisms. Cancer cells do not bump into their neighbors and excuse themselves for being rude. They grow uncontrollably and create a crowd that turns into a tumor. They wreak havoc on the normal regulations within a body and cause destruction without any regard for anything other than itself. It is my hope that this election did not just give a hall pass to those that have lost their self-control just like environmental factors can do for cancer cells. My hope is there is a treatment that will make us all stronger. Our ability to maintain a peaceful state puts demands on all of us to stand up and protect each other. We all have to collectively treat each other with more respect, love, and consideration.
I’ll start teaching my kids to be Global Citizens today in my own way with my kids after school. We’ll discuss the meaning of words, talk about taking action for something you believe in, and discuss how inaction can have consequences as well. The words we’ll choose to discuss this afternoon? With liberty and justice for all.
This post also appears on the Huffington Post.