I chose the title of this blog from my favorite Maya Angelou quote, which goes like this: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This is a quote that means more than just the words to me. It speaks to the way that I live my life.
That’s why I’m a little concerned about a particular blog I wrote following the presidential election of 2016 that keeps getting reposted. Almost every day, I see that someone read the blog. You can read that blog HERE to better understand where I’m coming from. I mention the issues I had with that election and the fallout afterward. I even noted that my candidate didn’t win, but that I still had respect for the office. I challenged folks to work for their causes and to be a light.
In hindsight, I was pretty optimistic in those early days following the election. You see, that’s because I had never encountered the kinds of things that I notice now. I counted on the elected officials–all of them from both sides of the aisle–to do the right thing for every American. I remembered Presidents who did amazing things and really stupid things, but I also remembered a certain Presidential grace and dignity even in difficult times.
I can’t say that now. It saddens me and- quite frankly- I don’t like publishing my views because of the vitriol that has become commonplace.
Here’s the thing- I’m not speaking about politics. I’m not talking about trade or immigration or health care. I’m talking about character, substance, integrity. This isn’t about what news channel I watch or who I follow on social media. These are MY thoughts and I have come to these conclusions based on what I have read on the President’s own Twitter account or heard from his voice in interviews. His words.
In those words, I hear hate all too often. I hear disrespect all too often. I hear ridicule all too often. The weird thing is that I keep waiting for him to listen to his own words. Does he even realize that he sounds like the bully from your high school days? I don’t even have to remember what he said or what he did. I remember how it makes me feel, and it doesn’t feel good at all.
I have friends that I love and respect who would disagree with me. I have friends who post regularly on their own social media outlets about their trust in the man. I also honor their rights to their own opinions, and I would never engage in a debate or argument with them. They are still my friends- regardless of our different viewpoints. I remember the days when we could have a difference of opinions and still feel compassion, still show kindness to others. I still choose to live that way.
Every time that my wistful post-election blog is reposted, I hope that the new readers understand that I hadn’t seen the full picture yet. I hope that they understand that I believe in treating all people with respect. That I follow the Golden Rule. That I truly love my neighbor. That I believe kindness matters. I’m flattered that people choose to repost that blog. I just want my readers to know that things haven’t worked out exactly like I envisioned.
I’m an optimist, though. I still believe in the goodness of people. I still have faith in our country. I still hope to be a light. Those facts haven’t changed.