Save the Natives who occupied this land before we arrived, this nation is one founded in cowardice.
- a person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things.
As I sit here on the morning after the election, watching the votes tally, I’m wondering how we repair this rift so evident in the way ballots were cast. Social media is rife with hatred and vitriol (so much more remarkable after I spent 6 months away); true to their nature, the news outlets are keeping viewers hooked to the heroin drips of updated results; politicians are pandering to their bases, committing to promises they have no intention of fulfilling. From North to South, on-line and off, we are a hot mess.
We Reap What We Sow.
We reap what we sow — such a trite throwaway line that seems so suitable when we’re shaming someone else — but, if we unpack it, if we use it to help define this place where we are as a country right now, it is the truest explanation of how we got here. And, perhaps, where we go from here.
We are a nation of runners. Given the opportunity to stay in our homelands before coming to America, we “lacked the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things.” Whether the original Puritans unwilling to endure the unpleasantries of Amsterdam, or the refugees fleeing persecution from Hitler, or the migration of immigrants unwilling to endure famine, joblessness, and genocide, we all ran to this new nation because we were unwilling to do the dangerous or unpleasant things in the land of our ancestors.
Well, guess what? The hard of dangerous and unpleasant doesn’t go away. The hard of dangerous and unpleasant cannot be avoided. The hard is not something we can escape, no matter how far we flee, no matter how far we run, no matter how much we think we’ve insulated ourselves against it.
Now, we are reaping a harvest that was sown in fear — fear of that which we were running from, fear of that which brought us to these shores. We are so goddamn fucking afraid of one another that it’s threatening the very fabric of this nation.
We cannot keep running.
Not because we lack the fortitude or endurance to keep running; No, this country’s residents could run for the rest of all time to avoid dangerous or unpleasant things. We’ve simply run out of road. There’s nowhere left to go. The other side has run all the way from their end and we are — quite literally — meeting one another in the middle of a battlefield, both sides equally matched, both sides equally committed to our fears of what the other is going to do to us.
We cannot keep running.
It’s time to plow the old harvest under.
It’s time to let this crop die on the vine.
If we continue to sow hatred and fear and disagreement and awfulness, this entire country is going to fail. If we continue to believe that some political “Savior” is going to lead our side to victory, this country is going to fail. Politicians don’t have the answers. They also don’t hold the power.
We have the answers.
We hold the power.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
Bravery is not the absence of fear. Bravery is the willingness to look the hard right in the face and move forward anyway. Bravery is doing the unpleasant. Bravery is doing the dangerous.
I want to believe we are a nation of people willing to have the “courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things.”
If we are to fix this hot mess of a nation, it’s going to require personal accountability. The things we hate about others are the things we most despise about ourselves. If we are unwilling to change ourselves; if we are unwilling to be kind or great or calm or peaceful, how can we possibly expect it of someone else? If I’ve learned anything during this time away from social media, it was that I never needed to fix anyone else who was posting things that upset me; I only ever needed to fix myself.
If we are to fix this nation, we must first fix ourselves.
It’s going to be hard.
Only a coward “lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things.”
You are no coward.
You are brave.
You are fierce.
You are strong.
You are better than this.