A dear friend of mine just posted on Facebook, asking what to tell her 11 yr old daughter about the Senate confirmation hearings. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, as I watch many women I know struggle through their own remembering. I began to cry as I talked to a friend today, sensing her pain and the collective pain of what other women are going through.
And then I thought of my 3 sweet boys, and as the mom of boys I worry for them too. I worry about them growing up with the message that men are, at best, insensitive assholes, and at worst, sexual predators. That though they didn’t create the “old boys club,” they won’t have the support they need as they mature into men. Well, they will have me and their dad to support them, but I think about all the young men out there trying to find their way through all of this who have no one to guide them. We are constantly empowering our girls, and rightly so, and yet we can’t shove our boys to the curb and write them off because past generations of men (some men) have been insensitive.
So I sit here trying to find the positive in all this pain, grasping to remember the shared humanity of Republican and Democrat, male and female, dark and light. As I wrestle with all of this, this is what I told my friend I would say to her daughter.
“Like Mr Rogers said, look for the helpers. There are always helpers. There are always good, decent people of every race, gender, sexuality and political party. And there will always be those who abuse power, who don’t treat each other right, and who seem evil to the core. Those people are the most broken and the most afraid. We can’t let our fear make us like them. Because at the very heart of all of this, no matter whether you are Republican or Democrat, black or white, male or female - we all want the same things. We want to feel safe. We want to be heard. We want to feel like we matter. We just have different ways of going about it. Now you get to see what that looks like and decide what kind of person you want to be, and how you want to help others. Most importantly, you get to decide whether you want to come from a place of love or fear. Because love always wins. And helpers aren’t afraid to stand up and fight when they need to, but also build bridges instead of walls when they need to.”
As Gandhi said, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”
I believe if we want to turn the tide and change what’s going on, we have to build bridges instead of walls. We have to work together instead of alienating the other side of any issue. When we turn it into “us vs them” and continue to build our walls of defensiveness even higher, there are no winners. And the next generation is the biggest loser of all.