I have been losing sleep over the election. I am really, really afraid of one candidate. I’m more than happy with the other, despite some important disagreements. I’ve been wondering what is my responsibility besides voting. I’ve wrestled with writing about this, since I have some talent at communicating in writing. But there is a real tsunami of opinion out there, and so one more view hardly matters. On the contrary, in this election, restraint is a good, mature thing; thinking “I alone have the answer” is hubris at best, narcissism at worst.
Like so many others, I really liked Michelle Obama’s speech and her idea that this is not about us: this election is about our children’s world. And I’m a little worried about the children, and not just my two. I’m worried that we’re not leaving them a better place, but instead we are bequeathing a lot of crushing personal debt, a climate-challenged planet, fear of strangers who speak different languages, and soul-numbing cynicism. That last really bothers me.
I heard a lot of great speeches at the convention. Although I normally find good oratory inspiring, I must admit its charm is wearing thin. And this article really got me re-thinking the way I value an inspirational speech. What about getting things done? What about problem solving?
For me, for my children, for my planet, I want solutions. I want to read about them. I want to vote for somebody who sweats the details of getting things done. For my own part, I need to concentrate on things getting fixed, or getting better, given enough commitment and ingenuity. I need to shift my focus from a relentless litany of what’s wrong without denying what is wrong and from jejune despair that “the system is rigged.” The system is big and complicated and contains a lot of people who unfortunately don’t think like me.
More concretely: this is also a way of practicing the Quaker discipline of “walking cheerfully over the world” . This is what I am going to do during the election season: call attention to solutions. If I can’t find any, it might just be cute kittens or pretty flowers. (I thought of doing this while sitting by my flowers.)
I’m kicking off by celebrating an amazing planetary healing (it’s yuuge): the hole in the earth’s ozone layer is closing because we banned CFCs. The lead scientist who published about this said: “Aren’t we amazing humans?”
Bonus: here are some flowers: