Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Election Year Lessons for Young Adults

It's taken me awhile to get to the point where I can respond to the results of this year's presidential election with anything other than revolutionary fervor, but I'm ready now. (Make no mistake: the anger is still very much alive in me, as I am one pissed off nasty woman.)

If you're anything like me, you were raised to be polite, not to discriminate, and to treat everyone with respect. But on 8 November, half of our country seems to have forgotten those lessons, and now we are facing institutionally-approved rudeness, bigotry, and disrespect from our neighbors or family members. This, undoubtedly, is a difficult upheaval to endure.

But sometimes, the world is going to disappoint you. It's better to learn this lesson as a teenager than an adult, because it comes at the best possible time, so I speak now to the youth of the nation.

The upcoming transfer of power is a scary prospect, yes. And yet. In a year or two, you young people will all be able to do something powerful, something American: you'll be able to vote. In this way, you can participate directly in our representative democracy. Until then, there are so many things you--and the adults in your life--can do to ameliorate the situation we're facing.

Volunteer your time, your enthusiasm. Find an organization you think will further your cause and ask them how you can help. Or if that proves to be difficult, given your busy and sometimes stressful lives as students with extracurricular activities and college applications to worry about, simply offer assistance to your classmates and peers and listen to them when they need to be heard. Hug them, tell them you love them, make sure they know how valued they are in the community.

At the same time, don't be afraid to reach out and ask for assistance. This is the moment when we need to come together, raise each other up, and prove that love is stronger than hate. That will sometimes seem impossible, but the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had some excellent advice on that front. He paraphrased a passage from Isaiah, saying, "If you can't fly, then run. If you can't run, then walk. If you can't walk, then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward."

We will accomplish our goals through doing good things for our countrymen, and in time, we will be able to fly like the bald eagles who symbolize our nation.

Stay cool. Stay safe. Stay awesome.


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