These days it seems everyone has something to say about the U.S. Presidential elections. Typically, I’m one who keeps my “political” beliefs pretty close to my chest. Why? I’ve always been the peacemaker. As the peacemaker, you don’t ask questions that may incite argument or dissension. As the peacemaker you find ways to bridge gaps and highlight our commonalities. As the peacemaker, quite simply, you try to make peace.
I’m making an exception – in the name of peace.
That’s right, I’m still a peacemaker…a peacemaker in search of and support of peacemakers who can lead our nations.
Who am I to weigh in? I’m an American. I’m a citizen of the world. I’m a human being. I’m a woman. I’m a mom, a wife, a friend, an entrepreneur.
In many ways that do, in fact, matter…I am you.
I have had the privilege of living in two great nations. An American by birth, I’m a Canadian by marriage, and although we are living in the United States my heart will always be in both.
This matters because I have been able to experience joy and pride as Canada’s newly elected Prime Minster has taken it upon himself to be a peacemaker within his nation and the world – to build bridges between peoples and countries, to underscore our similarities, to fight for love and respect of all people in Canada and around the world, whether they can and do fight for themselves or not.
He is making efforts to do good in this world.
What defines “good” is, of course, quite subjective. Then again, the tenets of every major religion in this world underscore that we as a human race do, indeed, have a common understanding of good.
I will define good as I understand it then, as loving others without exception and seeking never to do harm.
And of course, if you truly love – then you will seek to help and make better whenever and wherever you can. So then doing good also means living your life in a way that makes the lives of those around you better than it was before.
My mom and dad instilled in me at a very young age what was “right” and what was “wrong.” While we may have our differences and not everything is as black and white as it was when I was young, that belief in goodness has never changed, the belief that it is our job to do good in our own lives and in the lives of others.
While Canada has elected a leader who is striving to do good and succeeding, the “politics” of the United States is in turmoil.
To me, however, this is not an issue of “politics.”
I do not believe in “politics.” I believe in people.
I believe in people who have the potential to do great things that impact the lives of others in a positive way.
So, this is an issue of people. It is also an issue of one person, in particular, whose aim is not to make peace or build bridges. It is to build walls.
The fear in this nation is great, and Donald Trump is capitalizing on that. He speaks of women as objects, using offensive language that I never want my daughter to hear. He encourages violence at his rallies. He blames not just other countries for the problems that exist in the lives of those who listen – he blames Americans. Mexican Americans. Muslim Americans. African Americans. “Poor” Americans. Female Americans. Veteran Americans…you get the picture.
Here are just a few of his quotes to underscore how he really feels (warning: unedited language taken exactly from his words):
- “Laziness is a trait in blacks.”
- “You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.”
- “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you … they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bring crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
- "Who the f knows? I mean, really, who knows how much the Japs will pay for Manhattan property these days."
- “[John McCain] isn’t a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”
- "We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated."
- "You know what I hate? There's a guy totally disruptive, throwing punches, we're not allowed to punch back anymore. ... I'd like to punch him in the face, I'll tell ya."
- "There may be somebody with tomatoes in the audience. If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell -- I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees."
- “You have to treat ’em [women] like shit.”
- "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot people and I wouldn't lose voters."
His words incite intolerance and hate, and he is using the fear of the people to propel him forward, a tactic that has been used by some very powerful figures in our world’s history. Think back to the 1930’s and consider how a young leader so capitalized on the fear of his people that he was able to lead the extermination of 11 million innocent people (6 million of them Jews) – all because they were different. He preyed on people’s fear and turned it against all those who were different from his ideal.
These words, these actions are the opposite of everything that I know to be good…what my parents taught me and what I have learned for myself.
However, I believe that each of life's moments holds something that we need, something that can make us better.
There is a reason Donald Trump is here in our nation at this time. While I can’t speak to what this means for the entire country, for me the message is this: Donald Trump is a great reminder of what we could become if we allow our fear, anger and hate to drive us. If we allow ourselves to be consumed by the darkness around us, we do our best to extinguish the light that is our goodness, our love, our soul.
And yet the truth I know is that the light cannot be extinguished. Even in the darkest of nights, it is there – albeit hard to see. It burns within each of us and in our country and our world as a whole. It is Love. It is goodness. It is God, Allah, Buddha, Krishna… It is whatever you call most pure and most good.
However, we cannot rediscover the light by diving further into darkness.
So I implore all of you who are in search of something different. You’re disillusioned. You’re fed up with what our country has offered you, and you’re afraid of what lies ahead. I implore you not to allow your fear to extinguish your desire for good, and I implore you not to vote for a “leader” who would have you do so.
Instead, consider what it will really take to begin to repair the brokenness in our country:
Love can move mountains. It can build bridges. It can tear down walls. It can bring peace.
Love can be the dawn of a nation, stepping out of darkness and, as people united, into light.