So many emotions are still raging high since the election, many of which are even stronger in the last week since the inauguration, and even stronger since the immigration ban on Friday. People are riled up, man. So am I. Everyone has strong opinions. I get it. And even though I’m terrified and outraged when I focus on the details of what is happening, I also tend to see the current world events from a place of positivity. That optimism inspires some people. And it also makes some people really mad.
Some people feel that I’m not justified in expressing optimism, maybe because I’m white, or I’m privileged, or because I’m not being realistic, or maybe because things are just so bad that no one should be positive. I get that too. But while my eyes are open to what is happening in the world, I refuse to cling to the negative. When we put our attention on something, it grows.
In the last few months, I have seen exciting signs of progress in our society (and in myself). Through these signs, I am often reminded of the power and simplicity of Michelle Obama's quote, that so many people were proud of, and inspired by: “When they go low, we go high.”
Here are 7 things that have gotten better since the 2016 election:
1 . Resistance! Mayors are speaking out against immigration policies, and there has been a stay on the president's executive order banning immigrants from Muslim countries!
2. I’ve read 2 books about white privilege and learned a TON from them.
3. The first book was posted on Facebook by a social justice organization, and was available for free on Kindle. The second (Whistling Vivaldi) was recommended to me by a colleague who saw my Facebook post about the first one.
4. I’ve had honest and meaningful discussions about race with many friends and acquaintances, of different races; most of which would not have occurred otherwise.
5. Activism. Marches, and other concrete actions people can take to make the world a better, more tolerant place. Change is coming.
6. A sense of community. I live in the 5th ward in Atlanta, and it’s been so inspiring to witness the ‘Defend the Fifth’ movement.
7. Ironically, transparency. Our dirty laundry is OUT THERE in the open, for everyone to see. No more hiding and pretending that darkness doesn’t lurk in our society. Let’s address it head on, and start healing.
No matter who you are, what you believe, how angry you are with our leaders, how happy you are with our leaders, who you hate, or why you hate them, let’s all try to make some effort, each day, to insist upon “going high”. Even when, especially when, they (whoever ‘they’ are for you) “go low.”