Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Humans of New York, an Instagram account run by Brandon Stanton, was recently profiling stories from Rwanda—specifically those that lived through the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi population. The stories are tragic and devastating. One in particular was from the perspective of Damas, a man who runs an orphanage and had been running it for several years when the genocide began. He was hopeful at first that things would not get out of control, saying: “We have institutions in the country. The United Nations is here. The danger will soon be over.”
It is estimated that around 800,000 people were murdered over a three month span of time from April to July 1994.
I came away from that story with a sense of how powerful groupthink is, how fragile peace and freedom and democracy are and how quickly it can all crumble. It’s a pretty sobering and terrifying thought. But let’s not be motivated by fear and otherness and scarcity.
The midterm elections are today. I don’t think I’ve ever voted in a midterm election before, just presidential. But the couple of years leading up to the 2016 election, and then the election itself, profoundly impacted me and changed me. Much of it was that I simply started paying closer attention. And I realized that what I thought I knew and believed did not actually line up with the person I wanted to be.
I grew up actively believing that in order to be a Christian, one must be a Republican. The two were synonymous. The Democratic Party consisted of baby killers and sinners. They were bad. It was simple.
And then I had a baby before I got married and lived in different cities and met people that were different than me and realized that nothing is simple. Complexity abounds. I opened myself up to the possibility that maybe I was wrong about some things, and that is when I began to wake up.
I am a normal non-politician woman who is also not an expert on all the issues. I was/am overwhelmed by the many races and I am tired from packing school lunches and working night shifts and just everything that being alive and functional requires of us. But. After 2016 I felt something that I had never experienced so viscerally and prominently: marginalized. I got a slight taste of what others shave been experiencing for generations. The 2016 election will directly influence how I’ll vote tomorrow, which is to say: I’m doing my best, with my limited knowledge of imperfect candidates, to vote for people who I hope will get us closer to the ideals we aspire to: liberty and justice for all.
Emphasis on the ALL.
*lovely artwork by @carluccio7