I have not posted one single political post during this election season nor one blog, but as the nation casts it’s vote today I feel like it is time to speak. As I think about the privilege to vote and at what cost it came to our democratic nation, I am honored to be casting mine for the candidate that best represents my mission and values. For this conversation, it doesn’t even matter who that is. As a first generation Palestinian-American and a woman who works globally in many countries where women have no voice, much less the ability to vote, it is something I take very seriously. My grandfather and uncles came to this country without a dime in their pockets for freedom and opportunity. Those hopes are still alive, even though they are not. Their plan to offer the next generations of my family a future and a hope is still thriving .As I look upon my nieces and their ability to pursue upper graduate education including law degrees. When their grandmother and my mom were forced to drop out of school for marriage.
The country my father came to at 27 is ever changing, yet I hold onto the truths as taught to me by him. We are blessed and this country is amazing, yet we should never forget where we came from.”He who denies his heritage has no heritage.” hung a sign in our home, and still does. Family and history is very important to me. I think I am still numb by all of the posts over the last few months from both sides of the aisle. From the friends I call family and from the family I call friends, I felt a void. As people were un-friending others for their choices, their affiliations, and their posts I was shocked and dismayed. What happened to us?
I have worked for the last 15 years to give women a voice through jobs in places where there is no other way they can be protected. I have watched some people try to take each others voices or numb them , be highly critical, spew hate, or start an all out internet war with words.
Friends, as the election comes to an end, and we all have cast our vote -even my 82 year old mother who always votes we have done our duty. We will know our winner by later tonight – let’s set aside all the fight and the flight. The candidate will be chosen and, he or she will begin the rebuilding and uniting of our country. Let’s all start with reuniting our own circle of friends. Let’s agree to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Let’s agree to continue to fight fair, for the ideas, values, and for the most marginalized souls in our society. At the end of the day they stand to loose the most, as I think if all of the political posts could have been better used to tell a great story. A story of a non-profit helping the homeless, getting women out of trafficking, creating jobs for women globally,or working against child marriage would have been a better use of our time and words.
Words matter. Life matters. Maya Angelou always said to guard our words “Words are things. You must be careful, careful about calling people out of their names, using racial pejoratives and sexual pejoratives and all that ignorance. Don’t do that. Some day we’ll be able to measure the power of words. I think they are things. They get on the walls. They get in your wallpaper. They get in your rugs, in your upholstery, and your clothes, and finally in to you.”
Friends, your words have gotten into me and I have ignored all I could. I have tried to focus on what is good, what is honorable, and what is hopeful. I did an ok job of that but not fully -so now I forgive you and your words of hate, your rants and differences, and I continue to sow seeds of love. “Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.” Maya Angelou
And tomorrow morning let’s be inspired by Henri Nouwen:
“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.”
Let these words penetrate our spirits and and then let’s move ahead and make this world we live in better and kinder and fight for the rights we enjoy for the people in the world who are not as fortunate.