Respect for Our Better Natures

field of flags

Leading up to inauguration weekend I have just a little something to say.

I hope that anyone that I know and love heading down to DC stays safe and sets a good example. Both camps, whether celebrating or protesting, are made up of individuals and I hope that the people I know and respect enough to keep in my life carry themselves with respect and dignity. Here are three simple things I ask of you.

1. Take the High Road

Don’t make me feel ashamed of you, please. You all know wrong from right. You all know how to take the high road. It doesn’t matter if someone else is on the low road. Being down there is not an invitation to join in. It’s also not a measure of the others who may agree with them in part.

2. Don’t Be A Stereotype(r)

So whether I see a Trump supporter in a American flag vest screaming in someone’s face, or a protester with hippie dreads doing the same… I’m going to try to put on my big girl pants and realize that the camera loves caricatures and stereotypes. Both of which are easy ways to lose sight of the complexity of humanity. They are also lazy ways to excuse yourself from understanding a person’s point of view.

As much as I hope that you defy stereotypes in that you are nuanced individuals with varied pasts; I hope you don’t make assumptions based on them either. That American flag vest could hide a volunteer. Those dreads could hide the wounds of a veteran. Don’t fall for lazy thinking.

3. Respect is Earned: Love is Given

What I hope to not see are the faces of people I respect disrespecting, or causing violence. Respect is earned, second chances, and third chances are often warranted, so I trust you all to be better than fear, hatred, and pettiness. I will still love you if you fall, but I may not be as kind verbally when I help dust you off.

I like to think I can lose respect for someone and still love them. People make decisions that I don’t agree with, or wouldn’t make myself all of the time. Some of those decisions even affected me directly. All I can tell myself is that they made what they thought was the best choice at the time given the information that they had.

Therefore, in closing, and at the end, I implore you to behave in a way you’d want a child to see. The eyes of the entire country are going to be on this one place at one time. The eyes of the world follow. Show them what we’re made of.

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