I have had these thoughts rolling around in my head for years and not really sure how to formulate them into something remotely comprehensive. That may be in part of growing as an individual and a father. I know very little about how our government works, but I'm learning because I need to hold myself accountable.
When I was younger I felt that a lot of our needed progression, while obvious to me, would be automated for me. "The adults will take care of this," or "the government will do it's thing" were my thoughts.
I grew up in rural New York and at times it was pretty tough. About 95% of the family I grew up around were white, the schools I went to I was absolutely the minority.
My years were spent wading through socially acceptable racism and bigotry. Lets not forget the 90s were chock full of zany racially and homophobically charged movies. Movies like: Nutty Professor, Boat Trip, Norbit, Madea's ___ all never sat right with me. I felt even more alienated and like the butt of many jokes. But I'm not going to die on this hill.
Nevertheless I always voted. As soon as I could vote, I did and I loved the empowerment.
I'll never forget watching Obama being elected. I no longer felt alone – there was this relatable voice of reason, strength and comradery.
I need to do more. I can't just wait until what a majority of the United States considers "the" election day. There's more than just two important people. There's a host of elections that shape our government, all have parties and their own agendas.
The 2016 election was a realization that I needed to do more than just show up and choose between the two Presidential Elects.
This is the last election where I once again show up at the last minute and tick a box and think I "did my job." While I was embarassed that we let, our now President, get this far in the election – I was overly confident he couldn't possibly win. Right?
Our country doesn't honestly think this man should represent us at the Presidential level? Can I understand the idea of having a politician who speaks like a regular citizen, yes. But this man isn't even a politician.
The moment the results came in, I was in shock. I participated in the rage retweeting and sharing. I in no way could process that this is where we were. Then I started to pay more attention and felt this overwhelming weight of responsibility. There's so many core values that I now see I need to fight for.
I'm now the adult that needs to take care of things
I look at my children and I want things to be different for them, like most parents would. My son for the most part should be fine. He's from a bi-racial family, but the reality is the United States population can consider him "white" on sight. When I look at my daughter I see what seems like decades of hard work and change to help sculpt our society to become an accepting and fair place for her.
I can't say I'm happy that in recent news there has been some social justice for women, because I'm not. I'm not happy that women have felt silenced for so long. I'm not happy that the majority responds by trying to justify a villain. I'm not happy that even though some of these villains are getting the repercussions they deserve, because the victims are exposed and have been living those repercussions already.
There's work to do. There's an internal process that's necessary to see these core values that will become my voice and my families voice by extension. I then need to work on transcending those to my children so they can be outsanding citizens. I need to do my part as a parent to show them life outside our safe bubble.
Retweeting isn't enough. Wearing a t-shirt isn't enough. It's way more than that. We need to educate and limit the "thoughts and prayers" behavior. There has to be results!
I'm learning all of this as I go, kinda like this dad thing. I was never completely immersed in politics and how I can be a true impact in my community, country and on a global scale. I'm watching, I'm keeping track and trying to find where I can help. I can't and won't be silent.