Today has been a crazy day, chalk full from start to finish. But I did two things today that really became thought provoking.
Today, at my school,we celebrated Veteran’s Day with a program for our students, parents, and local veterans. I really thought it was a beautiful program. I was asked a couple weeks ago if I would be willing to play Taps as part of the honoring of men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Playing Taps is on honor for me for more reasons that just the act of being able to do it. My Grandpa Andy was a veteran. He was also my musical inspiration. He was a phenomenal trumpet, bugle, piano, and organ player. He taught me so much about music, and more importantly about being a good person. I am not kidding you, he was the nicest guy on the planet. I can remember going places with him and we would stop in every town and he would stop and have a full on conversation with like every single person we met. He was amazing and had a heart of pure gold. When he passed away, I was asked to play Taps at his funeral. It was the proudest moment of my life. So, today when I finished playing Taps, (nailed it, by the way) I just collapsed in the bleachers and cried. I love that man and I think of him so often. He is still my idol and I always think of him when I think about the kind of person I want to be.
I looked at both of my girls long and hard this morning. I came to school and studied the faces of my students. And then I checked in to social media. Wish I wouldn’t have done that. Dammit. Our children DESERVE better than this. They deserve to see love, kindness, and graciousness.
I am not very political and I am not going to try to be. I don’t have all the facts and numbers memorized and I am not going to spend hours and hours doing that either. I am just going to go with my gut on this.
If anything has come out of the past couple days its that there is some real ugliness being spewed. Both sides, all sides, the left, the right, and every one in between. My body aches from screaming on the inside, “STOP! ENOUGH ALREADY!” The Trump supporters are gloating, the Hillary supporters are pouting, and they’re both just being as dramatic as possible. I don’t care who you voted for. Thats the cool thing about America, you have a choice and I hope that everyone voted and chose who they wanted. Obviously, there was going to be a winner and loser. I think it’s ok to be upset if you ‘lost’, but claiming total doom is just ridiculous. And had the election gone the other way, you can’t tell me that things would be any different. Apart from the rioting, the Trump supporters would be claiming total doom too.
Right before I started this, I read something on social media that one of my friends posted. It said something to the tune of white privilege and how it must be so nice to look past a presidential candidate’s racism because it will never affect you. First of all, where is the proof of this racism? I mean like actual truth. Not one sided media BS. Second, every time I see something about white people this and white privilege that, I physically cringe. As I said before, I am not going to do the number crunching, but I don’t have to in order to figure out that white people weren’t the only ones who voted for Trump. Get real. But thats not why it bothers me. To assume that racism doesn’t affect me or that I don’t care about it or even to goes as far as saying I am a racist because I am white is completely asinine. If we are going by that logic, wouldn’t Hillary also be racist?
So here’s the thing… I wake up every morning to a beautiful, smiling baby girl who has darker skin than mine. I go to work every single day where many, many colleagues have darker skin than mine. I have a classroom where every single wonderful, smart child that I LOVE has darker skin than mine. I go to bed every night with a thoughtful, loving man who has darker skin than mine. So, here is my middle finger to whoever wants to even breathe that ugly R word in my direction.
Now, I am mad. Do you really think that racism has never affected me? I have seen with MY OWN EYES two different employers throw away my husbands resume because of the last name at the top. He was more than qualified for those jobs. That affects me. Or how about when I am the only white person in the room at some of the things I have gone to with my husband, the looks that I get and the things I hear about ‘all these white girls taking the good Native men’. That affects me. I have laid awake many nights already thinking about the things that my sweet children, my own and the ones that I teach, very well could be subject to some day. I worry, NOT because of racism, but because there are awful people in this world. There are all kinds of radical weirdos out there and all these friggin idiots existed LONG before Trump was elected.
Too many people are consumed by things that they can’t control. I tell my first graders every single day that they only need to be responsible for themselves. I have to remind myself too. I can’t control the ugly of everyone else. I am only in control of myself and I choose to share good things with the world. My husband and I will raise our children to love and respect every person, to be a gracious winner AND loser, to take every opportunity to learn, and to be such a hard worker that no one will even have a chance to see the color of their skin. I challenge the rest of the parents to do the same. Go to work, love your family, have your friends’ back. It really will all be okay.
We weren’t electing a king or queen on Tuesday. We were ONLY electing a president.
WE ALREADY HAVE A KING!
I will continue to pray to that King every day for protection and guidance for us all.