The election is tomorrow, and honestly I am glad. I’m tired of the rhetoric on both sides, and how the lens in which people view the world changes in drastic measures. I’ve seen a lot of ugliness in how people talk with or against one another. I want to lean into the Thanksgiving season because I need some reprieve.
However, in this election season I do find something striking. We fixate on the powerful. We hang by their every word. We check out the fact checker after debates and look at their stances on issues throughout the decades. None of these things are wrong, and yet our moods and vision are affected by what these powerful people say.
I’ve kept a question close by these last several months:
How would we change if we listened to the weak, the vulnerable, the marginalized?
A homeless person will never become president. Neither will a sick person (that is unless you watch West Wing!). Neither will someone with autism or down syndrome. Neither will a paralyzed person. Neither will an illiterate person. The list could go on.
The marginalized see the world with different eyes. They know what it feels like to be left out, forgotten and ignored. They feel like neither presidential candidate knows anything about their life, because it’s true. They live their lives hoping someone will look them in the eyes with compassion.
What if we learned about the world through their eyes? What if we held onto just a sliver of their will to live, to fight and persist in a world that pretends like they don’t exist? What if we, the powerful, quieted our shouting voices, so the vulnerable could summon enough courage to speak?
We would be better people. We would know compassion and empathy speaks more powerfully than any conclusion in a debate.
We in our country are proud of our freedom of speech. But do we really want to hear everyone speak?