November 03, 2020

POV: We Can Choose Love

To say that 2020 has been turbulent feels like an understatement. So many challenges have presented themselves to us. So many stories of triumph and coming together have also flooded our world. I have been both the receiver and the giver of goodness and support recently. I know so many of you find yourself in a similar situation.

This is being written on Election Day. It will take days, if not weeks, for the final canvas to come in. Because of that uncertainty I’m doing some things to curb anxiety. As examples: I have voted which means that I have given my voice power.  I have checked that my ballot was received and counted. I have checked in with Team UNA and we have strategized on a variety of scenarios we may need to sift through (earthquake, pandemic, and land hurricane scenarios have already been tested). I have planned a lovely dinner for election night. I have some shows and art projects lined up for the next couple of nights and this morning I went for a run. This kind of control and planning soothes me.

But there exists an internal battle because of so many unknowns.  And it’s unclear which balance I should strike here. Should I speak about resilience and hope, anger and resolve, protest and democracy? Since it’s unclear, I am choosing to rely on my own belief that we have more in common than we think and that generally speaking we want for our neighbors what we want for ourselves.

 And yet, somehow somewhere along the way we have stopped actually talking to one another. We are also spending more time surrounding ourselves with people who think exactly like we do. These days, it is too easy to pop in and pop out of conversations and say awful things to one another.  I do remember a time before texting, group chats, and social media when we had to face each other and see the other person’s reactions. I have been the subject of vicious hate mail before so I know how terrible it is to feel isolated and alone in my beliefs. And I do not wish those feelings on anyone, I don’t care who they voted for.

A couple days ago I was talking with a cousin of mine. The conversation was about his new house, dogs, chickens, cars, and Halloween candy. We moved fluidly from one topic to the next and suddenly he said to me, “I look up to you, Kate. You are fierce. I’m not on the same side of the aisle as you but you have my respect. You’re a good person.” He and I have wildly different experiences and we’ve taken very different paths in life. But what has been constant is the ways we have supported each other throughout the years.

Our country’s history is terrible when looked at through an anti-slavery and anti-colonial lens but in principle the United States of America was born out of a desire to be free, to choose our own government, and have control of our destiny. And regardless of the outcome of the 2020 election those early principles of choosing the kind of America we want to live in exist. We can choose to listen to one another. We can choose to love. We can choose to be respectful. We can choose to fight for justice. We can choose to build community. Really, we can choose anything we want. This is our America.

As for me – I chose love, respect, kindness, and compassion. What will you choose?