So. The election season from Dante's 7th circle of hell is over.
As hellish as it was, some good DID come out of it, at least in my opinion.
We have 19 women Senators in U.S. Congress. Elizabeth Warren? She's full of awesome.
Voters turned out in record numbers, with Black, Latino, AND women ROCKING the damn vote. And can I just say how about Pennsylvania?! Especially Philly-y'all did the damn thing at the polls.
We pretty much just shut Akin and others like him who believe rape is ok down.
Same sex couples in states like Minnesota can now get married. Marriage equality is finally really happening. (Yes, I am a Christian who favors gay marriage. My faith and my politics divorced each other about a year ago and I'm really okay with keeping them separated.)
Americans made it clear that we are demanding our government to find a way to WORK TOGETHER by keeping Republicans in the House, and having a pretty even split between parties in the Senate. (At least that's my take away from last night's results. You might think differently and that's completely okay. I still like you anyway.)
Mitt Romney gave a gracious concession speech. Well done and classy.
Obama won re-election.
He reignited my faith and hope that given more time, we can keep finding ways to fix what needs fixing and move our country forward. (Again, you might disagree, and that's perfectly okay. Seriously, it is.) I believe in and can identify with the type of America he wants to build, even though I don't always like his policies or how he handles things. I think he's a good, very intelligent man who cares deeply about this country, it's people, and is trying to do what he can to get us up and out of the mess we're in. I really do. Take that however you would like...just please do so respectively.
There were a lot of things that came out of this election season and Obama's re-election that are not good. They are saddening, sickening, and disturbing.
Look, I get campaigns are "supposed" to attack each other. I understand that some people are loyal to their party come hell or high water. I get that Democrats and Republicans have different platforms and agendas and this all creates tension, division and strife. I get that politicians "lie." I expect mud slinging and nastiness from each party even though I don't like it.
But what has disturbed me the most the last 9 months is how vile the rhetoric and dialogue has become, between each other. US. AMERICANS.
I love that we have such strong opinions and care so deeply about the varying issues our country is facing these days...I just don't like that we've failed for the most part to express those opinions in constructive and respectful ways.
I thought it couldn't get any worse than what I'd seen and heard leading up to the election. But today? Today, a significant and certain section of the American public has outdone themselves. On Facebook, on Twitter, on news feeds, on news outlets, I have seen the most hateful, ignorant and just downright NASTY comments, statuses, photos. And yes, I'm going to say this. While I know a significant amount of Republican and Romney supporters are NOT racist, I refuse to act like I haven't seen and heard racist conversations, comments, and photos FROM Republican and Romney supporters. I have. They are everywhere. And that terrifies me more than anything else. Do we really need to go there?
There's talk of secessions, lynchings (yes, I saw a photo of Obama with a noose around his neck!), our country becoming a Muslim nation (?), our country facing the wrath of God, and some really other disturbing things I just can't write here. And to be fair on the other side I've seen people gloating and completely disrespecting those who disagreed with and voted differently than them. Am I the only one who's disturbed by all of this?
It's been very triggering for me to see and hear it all. I had to take a break from Twitter, stop reading comment sections on news sites and Facebook. Yesterday, my anxiety was through the roof and I had a lot of emotions about the election and what I've seen churning inside of me. I thought about writing but I didn't have the words. Instead I did the only thing that brings me peace when I'm having an anxiety attack or emotionally distressed-I painted. I painted how I felt about the election season and the climate of American society, and this was the result:
All the vitriolic speech that's been screaming and raging the past months and today? Those are the black marks interspersed among good ol' red, white, and blue that we so proudly deem American patriotism. Those are the marks that are covering up the beauty that is the spirit of our nation.
We don't and we aren't going to agree with each other on everything. But what we can do is agree to disagree and do our best to move forward together.
Leading up to this election I was losing my hope and confidence in us as a people. But I'm choosing today to hold on to these words from the President's speech last night and hope he's right. I'm choosing today to believe that despite all the hate that's raging, we will rise above it and be a better nation for ALL of us.
" I believe we can seize the future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We are not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America."-President Barack Obama