I was extremely lucky because I grew up in very diverse neighborhoods. My classmates were from every ethnic and religious background imaginable, one of my first crushes was on a black boy in my class, and my first kiss was with a Latino. I knew gay kids and didn’t really think anything of it. This was the 1990’s.
I look around now, almost three decades later, and feel like I’m stuck in the Twilight Zone. Remember the episode where the man wakes up and walks around a town, and nobody is around? He can’t find a single soul and doesn’t know why. Increasingly I feel this way about our world, only there are plenty of people everywhere. They’re just spewing so much hate and ignorance that I feel just as alone as the man on the show. This isn’t how things are supposed to be. They can’t be. We can’t give into it.
I have a 2-year-old son and another little boy coming in the fall. In fact, my baby is due just two days after the 2016 presidential election. What kind of world will he be born into?
I don’t want my sons to be surrounded by racists and homophobics. I don’t want them to think it’s ok to speak negatively about a person simply because they possess two X-chromosomes, have more pigment in their skin, believe in a different god, or because they want to marry someone they love. And of course, if my husband and I have anything to say about it (which we do), our sons won’t do these things. But why does it feel like everyone else is becoming more and more intolerant by the day. When did this become ok?
If anything, we are now surrounded by more diversity than ever before. More people are marrying and having children with people of other races and religions. More women are finding their places in positions of power. More people are finding their voice. And maybe that is the problem. The status quo is being “threatened.” But it’s not a threat. It’s a beautiful thing. And if we can learn anything from history or business or really any aspect of life, it is that the status quo is not a good place to remain. It is something to be challenged. Going against the status quo is how we grow and evolve. So all of the horror that plagues our news cycles everyday is from nothing more than a select group of privileged, ignorant people who are clinging on to the status quo for dear life. And their only way to do it? Through hate and vitriol and violence.
I will teach my sons to judge people only by the content of their character, because that is how we can truly see someone. The ancient saying goes that the eyes are the window to the soul. But perhaps more accurately, a person’s actions and words are what show us what is really inside.
Never have I feared more for our future than I do today. Never have I wanted to freeze time more than I do right now. Not just so I can enjoy my kids’ baby years, but because I want to set them free in a world where people are accepting and not full of the hate, lies, and ignorance that has become ubiquitous in recent times.
Please consider these things. Please see the presidential election for what it is: as more than just a race between conservatives and democrats. It isn’t just about taxes any more. It is about the kind of world our kids will live in. We have the power to handpick what their future will hold. Please choose wisely.