Today, January 20, 2017 is a difficult day in my home. It is a day when we swear in the 45th President of the United States. Today also happens to be the International Day of Acceptance. I am going to ask each of you to read those two opening sentences again, just in case the irony didn’t slap you across the face the first time you made it to the second period.
I did not plan on writing this today, as a matter of fact, I’ve been at a loss for words for quite a while now. The problem is that I woke up and realized what day it is. The day of International acceptance. This is usually a day I celebrate like Halloween, Mardi gras or Christmas. It’s an important day, it’s the day when the rest of the globe catches up to what happens in my home every day. You see we celebrate our uniqueness. A family full of disabilities. A home that opens its doors to the odd, the different, the outcast. We have a tendency to see the beauty in what others prefer to cast into the shadows.
Acceptance is defined as The action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group. That doesn’t seem so difficult right? The action of being deemed adequate or suitable… it’s really not that high of a bar. Adequate, or being satisfactory or acceptable in quality or quantity. As I look at these words my empathy alarms go off. Granted, I’ll admit I may be higher on that scale than others, based on what I’ve been told, but as we apply these definitions to people it seems a bit queer. It shows me just how much we judge everyone we come in contact with. The fact that there is a day dedicated to reminding us to accept others as they are is frankly off-putting. We have a day to remind each other that we are satisfactory, and the sad point in all this is that we NEED days like this, and we do.
Let’s take just a moment to mourn what else is happening today. We, as a nation, have decided to elect Donald Trump to our highest elected office in the country. Like it or not he is now the face of our nation. The nation has decided that Donald Trump represents us in international affairs. Because this is MY blog, and for now I CAN say what I want I am going to remind you what is already happening in this country. The government has convinced you that corporations are people. Not only are they people, but they are people who are better than you, more important than you, they have a louder voice than you, they certainly have more money than you. This country has trade, environmental, and health regulations, just to name a few, that are written by these corporations and passed into law by people we elected, people who we allow to personally financially gain from passing a bill with so many pages no real person can make it through to the last page, and even if you read the words, could most understand the language? Already the regulations that accompany the Affordable Care Act are being dismantled. Even if you don’t have coverage directly under the Act it brought sweeping changes to the Insurance industry in the way preexisting conditions are handled, just to name one. I have come to understand at least one facet as to why we’d allow someone like Trump to be elected, over and above the shell game we all witnessed. The people of this country are finally starting to become aware, that we should be treating each other with more compassion. I won’t claim equal, and I won’t trip down the hole of what equal treatment would be now, but maybe you should look into why full on libertarian policies may have a negative impact on a society. I feel that we elected our current President because the populous feels the weight of being undervalued and misrepresented. As I wrote that the corners of my mouth turned up slightly. Undervalued and misrepresented, maybe like the communities of the disabled, LGBTQ, Blacks, Jews? The list goes on, but you get the point. Many people voted for a candidate of change, except there were far too many that weren’t aware of the shell game, or the sleight of hand they were witnessing. Now, I find myself at a point where I need to be accepting.
I accept that my candidate didn’t make it past the primary. I accept that we have a broken system that is stuck on greed. I accept that we are at a point where we need to make hard choices. What I do not accept is that the fight is over. While I will not make the “Not My President” statement, I will make a statement that I will work to transform this country. I will make my voice heard through the appropriate channels. I will be awake. I will resist what I feel is wrong by contacting my Congressmen, Senators, Mayor, and other elected officials. I will vote. I will find a way to peacefully resist what is unjust and advocate for what is right, not only for myself but on behalf the disabled community and all others who need their voices heard. We have more access to information now in minutes than generations prior had in weeks. It is our job to understand that we must become filters for that information. It is our job to become self-reliant, self-educated, and empathic enough, not only to understand what is correct but to act appropriately.
Today is a day of acceptance, but remember that we can accept what is and still work toward change. We need to be advocates for each other as people, no matter how different we may be. We need to be advocates for this planet to ensure generations to come have a chance to do better than we did. Love and compassion is the answer. We need to do our best to remember that we are responsible for each other. If we all do the best we can with what we have there will always be more than enough. You are more than enough and you are loved.