Politics. It’s a thing. It’s not my thing. At least that’s what I say. I say that because I don’t get off on the nasty. I don’t debate well either. And I’m not at either extreme of any political spectrum. When I think of politics, those are the things I think of.
I’m considerate of other people, even those I don’t agree with. I’m thoughtful, rather than quick in my answers. And I’ve always said, “If there’s a fence, I’ll straddle it.” My values are much more moderate, even when on the right or left side of the middle. And I know that’s all part of politics too. It’s just not what comes to mind.
Make no mistake, though, even though I might be in the purple part of politics, it’s not out of uncaring or not taking a stand or following along with what others tell me to think. I keep thinking of a conversation I had with my mom when I was in elementary school. We had a substitute teacher and mom asked how my day had been. I told her it was okay but that I was sad because the subs never remembered my name! We figured out together that it was because they didn’t have to yell at me. I’ve thought of this often growing up in regards to politics. The loud ones get recognized, but those that are quiet, kind, consistent…we’re always there. Quiet political beliefs and values are still valid.
To be clear, I’m not saying that loud always equals misbehavior. Sometimes good folks make noise for good reasons. I just won’t likely be one of them. I might be in the background cheering them on. I might be hiding in the shadows supporting their right to be loud and take a stand, even if I don’t agree with the stand. Who knows.
In the past months I’ve read a lot and heard a lot about politics. We all have. I’ve read memes that seem to call me out because I’m not being loud enough. It’s been implied that I don’t stand for the right side of this or that argument because I haven’t posted in on my Facebook page. And so many questions have been addressed to me: “Aren’t you scared?” “Are you worried for your daughter?” “How are you going to encourage your daughter to be strong in the world we live in?” “Why aren’t you marching?” “What are you going to tell your kids?”
I’ve thought about my responses long and hard. And this childhood story comes back every time. I’m not going to be loud. I might not get noticed, but I’m going to be quiet, kind, and consistent. Every day that I can be.
And what will I tell my kids? (Out of all those questions, I think this one sums it all up and gets to the core of things.) I’ll tell them things I’ve told them a million times before. That change is hard. Life isn’t clear or simple. People we love can frustrate us or disappoint us. Kindness doesn’t cost a thing. Every person deserves respect. All that.
I’ll tell them that everyone has ideas and dreams, some little, some big. I’ll tell them that we’re not as different from anyone else as we like to think. We all poop. They’ll understand that, for sure. I’ll talk to them about the opinions they have and share mine too. I’ll let them make decisions for themselves. I’ll encourage their ideas…I mean…as long as their reasonable. I’m not raising Olympians, here. 😉
I’ll talk with them using polite sarcasm and honesty. I’ll let them know why I cry at things and why I don’t laugh at others. I’ll listen to their words and watch their actions. I’ll be their mom. That’s what I’ll do.
So, in this day and age where every other person is an arm chair quarterback who believes they would make better decisions than whomever gets voted in to any office out there…I’ll be me. I’ll make ripples in my little world and hope they spread. I’ll smile and write and love others. I’ll help and encourage and inspire. And I’ll keep telling my kids the same things I always have. They are incredible people and they’ll shine in their own way, regardless of politics. Politics may be a thing, but it’s not the only thing or the biggest thing.
What will I tell them? I’ll say, “I love you.”