On January 19, 2017, and for the eight years preceding that date, Barack Obama was my president. As of January 20, 2017, and for the undetermined foreseeable future, Donald Trump is my president. No snarky slogan or attempt at poetic justice will ever make either of those statements less true.
We live in a society that yearns to degrade those with whom they disagree. Rather than attempt to engage in civil discourse, we hide behind jeers and slurs. We give self-appointed titles, attempting to box the world around us into the vision of our own reality. “Obama is not MY president.” “Trump will never be MY president.”
I understand the frustration; I get the sentiment. It’s hard to accept that the world’s reality does not fit within the selfishly created box of one’s own mind. It’s a struggle I have faced time and time again throughout my short life. I’ve been shaped by the landscape of my own personal journey as have we all. To some, the life experience I’ve had so far has been adventurous, filled with cultural and religious diversity. To others, my life experience has been narrow-sighted, lacking exposure to the greater world and it’s many beautiful nuances. To all, it’s relative.
Collectively as human beings, we do a tremendously bad job of being relatable. Again, it’s hard to accept that the world’s reality does not fit within the selfishly created box of one’s own mind. I’ve met many wonderful people who are excellent at attempting to be relatable, even succeeding at times, but yet they still suffer the consequences of their own life experiences and the prejudices that come with that. We attempt to ignore the prejudices rather than trying to overcome them which creates a cyclical effect of constant resurgence. We never get past ourselves to see into the lives of others.
Maybe it’s negative to say but I also don’t think we will ever get completely past ourselves truly allowing us to see into the lives of others. I think that’s assimilation and we aren’t built as human beings to be universally assimilated. There will always be cultural, ethnic, religious, and political division that we face (which is good if treated in a healthy way). The key is found in the respect of the opposing view, which brings me back to my original point:
On January 19, 2017, and for the eight years preceding that date, Barack Obama was your president. As of January 20, 2017, and for the undetermined foreseeable future, Donald Trump is your president. No snarky slogan or attempt at poetic justice will ever make either of those statements less true. Don’t disregard this statement because it is coming from a white, middle-class, Protestant, male; that would be the antithesis of my entire point. Eight years ago, I was rallying a battle cry that Barack Obama was not my president and over the last eight years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have a life experience that showed me just how wrong I was. Don’t be me. Be better than me.
Fight for injustice, stand up against tyranny, feed the hungry, heal the sick, and clothe the poor, pray for those with whom you agree and pray for those with whom you disagree. Today, let’s all try to be a little more relatable.