I am sick, and it seems only fitting. Fueled by abject terror, confusion, and rage, I have propelled myself through the second half of this week, despite a virtual all nighter (45 minutes of sleep in a chair) on election night. There is a battle for health going on inside me, just like there is an ongoing battle all across the United States and, indeed, around the globe. Clearly, our nation and modern world is sick, and watching this battle has finally taken a toll on me physically.
Throughout all of this, the words of an acquaintance haunt me. On election night I and went to boxing, in hopes of working through some aggression and coming back to reality when it was all over. I talked with another female boxer (one who is significantly more buff and kick ass than I) and we spoke about the election. She talked about how, as a boxing enthusiast, she had a lot of close friends who she thought shared her values. However, this election has shown her that they don’t have as much in common as she thought.
“And whatever happens,” she asked me, “how do you forgive? You can never go back.”
I understood what she was talking about. As a woman, and an LGBTQ member of the military, the sense of betrayal I feel is deep and unyielding. To be told that my experiences of discrimination do not matter, or do not even exist, makes me feel a little less than human. To hear people talk about, and have others agree that no, it is the WHITE MALE that is discriminated against in this society enrages me to my core. I have heard friends crying over the undocumented children that they know, disappearing in twos and threes. If there was ever an election where basic human decency was at stake, this was it.
And the people have spoken.
How do the rest of us even start to forgive this?
Why should you forgive? It is a valid question. For the last four years the Republican party has crippled our nation with their inability to work not only with Obama, but with each other. They have spent federal money having congress investigate democratic candidates in preparation for this election! Why can we not cripple them in return? If we are going down, we can take them down with us!
Well, the answer to the action portion of that is, yes, our nation is going to go downhill. However, crippling all of our government branches is only going to make things worse. I would concentrate on local action/politics, while putting congress on the defensive by actively advocating for progressive legislation. Like bringing back the Equal Rights Amendment! How can we have gun rights in our constitution, but not rights for half of the population?
In regards to your friends and fellow citizens, staying angry only hurts your own health and intelligence. According to Everydayhealth.com, being angry is bad for your heart and lungs, increases your risk of stroke, and decreases your immune system. Case and point, myself. Anger also decreases your ability for rational thought, a negative if you actually want to change perspectives and legislation. Therefore, we now know it is important to forgive our friends, our family, and our nation. Yet, again, how can we go about forgiving them?
I have found that on a national scale, understanding the other side helps. Remember, education has been crippled in this country for quite some time. While ignorance is no excuse, it helps to go online and research/understand different perspectives. Seeing the world as it is, and not through your own lens, is difficult, especially when you are frightened and you don’t know where to start. The Obama presidency has alarmed and threatened the white majority (soon to be a minority), and this has made the remnants of a cultural empire lash out in its death throes. Yeah, yeah, tough petunias, but aren’t we also lashing out in our anger and fear as well? See how easy it is to not listen to those around you?
But what about friends and family? Shouldn’t they have known better? How do we forgive them?
Turns out, we do not have to fully forgive. Acceptance, according to some, is just about as good. I do applaud my friends who have forgiven and moved on. For one of my friends, she asked for an apology and she received one. For myself, I believe forgiveness will take a little more time, and a little more effort. I understand mistakes. I also believe in physical action to remedy those mistakes. I plan on getting more involved with politics this next year, even though I am still active duty. For those friends and family who participate in that process with me? I believe I will be able to forgive. For those who do not? I do not think I am capable of that right now. Respect, yes. Friendliness, yes. Understanding, yes. Will I be able to accept them for who they are and who they supported? Yes. Forgive them?
I’m sorry. I don’t think so.
This Week in Updates: Well… happy veterans day.
I think I spoke of most of what my week has been like. This has overshadowed veterans day, but such an important day still deserves to be mentioned. As a military member, and one day a military veteran, I know what it is like to risk life and limb for country and to be separated from family. It’s hard, and the funny thing is, my military life is quite easy in comparison to the life of others. Thus, if you know a veteran, they could probably use a hug. Whether you agree with deployments/global involvement or not, or whether you agree with combat or not, you have to admit that life can be hard. If they truly believe they are making a sacrifice for you, appreciate that dedication. Is the sacrifice of a military member on the same scale as the pain and hardship everyday citizens can go through in this country? No, not always, but how about you give those people a hug too, okay? Compassion is not a finite resource. When you can give some to all, do it.
The Recipe: Squash and Pea Curry
Who doesn’t love a good curry? And this one is not only pretty, but seriously healthy too!
- 1 cup chopped squash (I like delicata)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 cup dry pinto beans
- 4 tsp fresh shredded ginger
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 package frozen peas
- Salt to taste
- Cooked rice, for serving
- Soak beans for 6-12 hours.
- Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker except for the frozen peas.
- Cook on low for 7-9 hours or on high for 4-5.
- Cook the frozen peas on the stove and combine. Enjoy!