The quality or state of being generous.
Today, November 11th is Veteran’s Day. I spent time yesterday at my youngest child’s elementary school where they had an assembly to honor our country’s Veterans. There were 25 Veterans in attendance at their assembly and many, many others honored through a slideshow the school created with family members and friends of students who have served or are serving our country. It was a time of deep gratitude and appreciation by students, staff and community members in attendance. There was a piece of American history shared yesterday. I was proud to be an American yesterday.
This morning I drove my oldest to Chaplin’s Subaru and Volkswagen in Bellevue, Washington. I drove there because my oldest received a very generous donation from the Owner to help my son reach his fundraising goal for his soccer team. The generosity and support shown to my 12-year-old son is so appreciated. The American spirit of big-heartedness is all around me today. I am proud to be an American today.
Both of these days happened after Trump was elected as our next President.
I have spent the last several days reading countless articles about the US Presidential election. I tried to not read them because at many times I thought this was all becoming too much. Yet, I kept reading. It was overwhelming. It was sad. It was alarming. I read countless articles and blog posts saying how horrible President-elect Trump is. Maybe he is horrible. What I know for sure is that there is never a reason a person should have their life threatened, so when I read people talking about Trump being the next President to be assassinated it terrifies me. It makes me see the horrible side of America. It makes me not proud to be an American.
These things are being said by people who didn’t support Trump; yet they are also saying that Trump and Trump supporters are evil, mean and angry. If that is the truth then all of America is evil, mean and angry. Which I know is not true.
I will admit I live in the state of Washington just outside of Seattle, so my social circle without a doubt is primarily democrats. I live in a community were immigrants are a huge part of our population. I live in an area where marriage equality is needed and those a part of the LGBTQ community are widely accepted. I live in an area where people are highly educated, fairly successful and most of America would consider us privileged. My social circle includes people who no longer talk about making 6-figured incomes because it’s widely assumed that everyone has surpassed that salary goal. The community I live in, for the most part, doesn’t struggle for food, warm clothes or basic living necessities. When there is a family going through tough financial times there are people and resources available to help them. Yet, I will admit the financial challenges aren’t always revealed and there are some in my community who struggle in silence. I live in a community where, for the most part, there are good people. I often refer to our neighborhood as Disneyland. Kids ride their bikes freely, walk home from school and play in the streets. Crime is low. My community does not represent the broader American community, I know this.
At the same time, I believe I am the first person on my Dad’s side of the family to graduate college. I’m within a handful of college graduates on my Mom’s side of the family. My parents grew up with nothing. Both had large families. Neither of my parents were provided family inheritances to set them up for future financial success. My Dad served in the military and was gone a lot when I was a little girl. We moved, a lot, because of his job. I have always known my Mom to be a full-time working Mom. I watched my parents have huge successes and very difficult setbacks. There are two things that my Dad told me over and over again growing up. First, let your conscience be your guide. I think that comes from Pinocchio. And second, work hard for what you want. Both of my parents have done everything possible to give me a better life than they had growing up. I am extremely thankful for this gift from them.
I graduated from college and I believe the annual salary of my first job was eighteen thousand dollars. I worked extremely hard to advance my career. I believed that the harder I worked the more I would be rewarded. I had jobs that I absolutely hated but went to work anyway to get the experience I would need to advance my career. I have approached my career with the mindset of being honest and working hard. I have never waffled from that mindset and those who have worked with me or are close to me know that because of that mindset I have actually walked away from jobs that I loved because there was a lack of honesty or strong work ethic. Throughout my career, I have learned that sometimes you have to work with people that you don’t agree with, but you always respect them. This made me learn how to disagree and yet still commit. Sometimes bad people get the promotion over good people. Sometimes life isn’t fair. Sometimes you can work really hard on something and still not get the outcome you want. Yet, you can never throw a fit to try to get your way because that will always backfire. And, maybe the most important lessons I have had in my career is your character is defined by what you do when no one else is looking and your character defines your reputation.
As a woman, I have been in situations that are horrible with regards to men. I have seen the evilest side of men. I don’t care to go into these situations here but I ask that you just trust the fact that I know how horrible men can be. The actions of men and the words from men can have a crippling impact on women. I have always wished that men would realize they have this ridiculous power over women and when it is abused it can be extremely hurtful and damaging. I am extremely sensitive to the comments that were made by Trump during this election. They are hurtful. They are disrespectful. They are unnecessary.
Trump is our President-elect. I see that half of Americans are completely pissed off because they wanted Hillary to win. I know that Hillary won the popular vote. Yet, I also am seeing that the other half, the half that supported Trump, well they aren’t all cupcakes and roses either.
I believe, I truly believe, that every single person in America is scared right now. Scared for our future. Scared about violence. Scared about hate-acts. Scared about the uncertainty that lies ahead. I also believe that every single person so desperately wants change. If Americans didn’t want change then I don’t think elections would be this heated, this debated, this intense.
Yet, here is what I also believe and know to be true. No matter who our President is, there is love in this country. There are good people. There are amazing things happening every single day. There are kids growing up in a country where they are free to express themselves, learn different perspectives and have so many opportunities. With Trump being our President-elect good things still happened this week. We were still able to laugh, love and live in a free country.
I’m not a politician. I don’t know enough about congress, the senate or international policies. I have zero desire to ever run for President. I know that I am split three ways when it comes to my views being aligned with democrats, republicans and independents. Yet, I do know that the people who are going out and starting violent protests, speaking hateful words and being totally disrespectful to other Americans is not what I want to see in America. I am more worried about the people doing these things right now than I am about Trump being our President.
There is a popular quote, “be the change you want to see” – I’m not sure who said it but I know I hear it all the time. So, my hope to all my fellow Americans is that we all will step up and be the change we want to see.
For me, what I see is a world of endless opportunities. I see the chance for my kids to have a better life than I have. I see acts of goodness all around me. What I realize now more than ever, is my parents were fortunate enough to move to an area where I would grow up around people who were extremely smart, have a chance to go to college, live in an area with a strong economy and be surrounded by all types of diversity. Not all American families are this fortunate, and from my perspective all Americans should have this same opportunity.
America needs to remain the country of opportunity. All Americans should have the opportunity to go to college. All Americans should have the opportunity to get a decent job that provides for them and their family. All Americans should have an opportunity to advance their careers. All Americans should get the medical support they need. All Americans should have the opportunity to work hard and be rewarded. All Americans should be able to love who they choose. All children should be able to grow up in a community that feels like Disneyland. If you have the opportunity and don’t take it, well, that is a different problem. A problem that we’ll have to address but first, let’s all be open-mined to finding a way for all Americans to be better. That starts with having an open-mind and open-heart and a willingness for us all to become better. It starts with big-heartedness.