How do you choose to live no matter who wins tonight?

I sit in physical agony as the last hours of this season come to a close. I hope for a peace tomorrow that is overwhelming and welcoming and an end to the hateful discussions of skin color and class. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was explaining to my 10 year old that class isn’t something that can’t be overcome with hard work and perseverance? Isn’t that the thing we are taught our whole lives until we are grown? Grit, drive, excellence – these are the things you need to change the world. 

I have seen hatred beyond measure in recent months. Two sides of the equally poor coin pitted one against the other over some fictional divide that says life is too hard for people with the lighter tone to their skin and surely it is the darker person’s fault. Surely it can’t be that we have allowed our political and economic functions to become so polluted that we don’t even remember who made the first mistake. 

The educated among the population swear it wasn’t them, but by experience alone I can tell you that only the educated are placed in positions of authority great enough that they are allowed to make a bad decision that effects more than themselves. The uneducated are too concerned with simple survival to really have time to realize their predicament and they cling to the only candidate who acknowledges their plight. 

I realize of course this plays into the perceived class war, but I don’t know how else to understand what has happened here over these last 18 months. How can folly become even a possible outcome of this season? One man’s whim against the high stakes of a nation. One woman’s elitism against a population of regular people. Both equally guilty of being part of the establishment that they seek to destroy. They call out to our hidden demons and feed fears that don’t exist, we believe them because something inside us is broken. 

We are all inexplicably broken. We’ve had our hope ripped out of us by years of ineffective government and for what? Change? There are changes that were necessary in the last few decades. Changes that brought us to this new information age of glorious human experience, but there is a darker change. As we progress to making education a requirement for all people no matter their location people find their fear. Maybe we aren’t as smart as we thought. Maybe the person who will cure cancer is in an African country that hasn’t built their school yet. Maybe the next great innovator is just waiting for someone to provide him with access to the tools we as Americans take for granted. 

Why can’t we be okay with that? 

Why can’t we use all the money we spend on war, fear, and fame to improve lives? 

How many people in rural states could use real medical care? We do not have to look outside of our borders to see the third world. It exists under our very noses and we grimace and move on because that’s what we have been taught to do. We’ve been taught that no matter where we come from we can be anything, but it’s not that simple. The United States government can’t fix the problem. The United States government can’t fix the brokenness of the people who are creating the problem. 

The problem hasn’t even been addressed because too many people are pointing out their differences. 

We are connected. Each one of us on Earth are connected to each other and we are all dependent on the other to build a fruitful existence. Connection when you don’t understand it is uncomfortable and causes division when division is impossible it causes problems. 

The only one who can correct the problem is each and every one of us. 

Every day you have the opportunity to live in positive response in all interactions. Only we can see someone different but not see them as different. Only we can feed the poor and help the sick. Compassion is what is needed now and that is not a government mandate, that is a soul mandate. That comes from you and from me and can only work if we all make that choice. 

How do you choose to live no matter who wins tonight?