Today is monumental in my mind. It is the last day we will be living in the U.S. with a decent, honorable, and respectable person as our president. Beyond incredibly sad, I also feel worried, frustrated, annoyed, and just plain old disappointed.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not going to go quietly into the next four years, or just sit and home and feel sorry for myself. The same things that have always been important to me will be, even more so if possible, and I will continue to act when I feel it is necessary. But everything is going to be different, and I'm not convinced it will be OK or better.
I have been doing my best to try and remain level-headed and civil around others who feel that the ascendancy of the Orange One will be a wonderful thing for our country. It's been difficult, but I do believe in manners, civility, and human discourse. Likely they will not change my mind any more than I will change theirs, but if we can not devolve into fisticuffs, we will all have our say.
That's the problem with The High Road, at least for me, and it always has been that way. As a child, I had a really violent, hair-trigger temper that I could not control.** At all. No one else in my family is wired that way, and I think I was a constant worry to my parents and often made them fearful. For as long as I can remember, my parents would try to instill in me that even if I got angry and lost my temper, that I should try my best to apologize. I used to ask my mother, "Why do I have to apologize, and the other person never does?" and her answer was always, "Because it takes a bigger person, a better person, to admit that they were wrong. I want you to understand that, and to take the high road whenever you can."
And I get it. Really and truly, I do. And at least in my heart, I do want to be the bigger person, the better person, even if it's not for the most noble of reasons. I think it's worthwhile to always try and be that person.
But why do I always have to do it, and the others don't? Why is the double standard OK? Why did I *always* have to apologize to my brat of a cousin Billy when I'd called him a name or punched him (I was not above physical confrontation), but he never ever ever had to say "I'm sorry" for anything? I mean, he was usually the one who started the problem in the first place! (His mother always claimed he couldn't help what he did/said, because he was "sick." Even as a young kid, I'd respond to my mother, "Oh, he's sick alright.") He knew that he had a pass on his behaviour. So why act differently?
Fast forward to our current situation. We are being told to "just get over it" with our concerns about our new leader, new Cabinet, new everything. We are sore losers when we express a different opinion. We are the ones who are criticized for criticizing, even if it is done in a peaceful and respectful way.
All of the members of Congress who skipped Obama's inauguration? That's different than the disrespect being shown this time around, when others are saying they will not attend tomorrow's event. Blocking judicial and other appointments made by Obama? That's not the same thing as the HORRIBLE shade being thrown at some of the new Cabinet nominees, by calling them "unqualified." It was the same during the Reagan years, the Bush years, the Clinton years, and I'm sure probably since the Caesar years.
I support The High Road. I don't think anyone should confuse it with becoming a doormat, and I do believe there is value in the saying and the practice of, "Whey they go low, we go high."
But boy, do I wish The High Road was a two-way street.
NOTE: I know I'm likely preaching to the choir here, but it felt good to get that off my chest. I hope that for all of you, tomorrow and the coming weekend will be filled with meaningful and peaceful activities that will allow you to cling to your soul. We're all going to need that moving forward.
**I do a better job now. Most of the time. Especially the physical confrontation part ...