This is a difficult post to write. But as Toni Morrison said,
In times of dread, artists must never choose to remain silent.”
I’ve covered some horrible topics this year, including Brexit and the massacre on Bastille Day. This year has been a time of underlying anger, not only between countries, but between people—and within our own country.
This anger frightens me. I’ve always come to regard America as a safe place, a home where I can return to, even if there is disconnect among the people of countries I’ve visited and maliciousness abroad. I’ve always been pleased to return, even if it is for a short sojourn.
I am angry too. I am angry that I have to worry about my safety in my own home, that I felt my voice (and the voice of so many less fortunate and persecuted than I) was ignored. I am angry that every bit of progress accepting others and learning to live in a coherent country with so many flavors, backgrounds, and perspectives has been eliminated.
I feel like my tenuous connection with the country I grew up in is close to being severed. I have had difficulty defining myself by any particular place, and now I feel that way even more so. I cannot condone our new president-elect’s behavior, or the anger which it has fueled over the past few months.
So I’m not sure I know what to do moving forward. I’ve always wanted to believe the best in my fellow humans. I am seeing this as an opportunity to reach out to others, to try and understand. To adopt the perspective of other cultures. In some ways, being a traveler has narrowed my view of the world and what I view as right. I’m challenging myself to reopen my mind.
I wrote a post about being an ambassador for your country and what obligations we have as American citizens when we are abroad. It is impossible at this point in time to see myself as an ambassador for a divided and polarized nation. However, I am an ambassador for my values. My beliefs. My desire to impart the truth penned by Jefferson: that all men and women are created equal. I want others to know that they are not alone in feeling silenced. So are other women, races, LGBT individuals, and religions throughout the world.
To throw in another quote from Mahatma Gandhi,
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”