Years ago, whenI was trying to build a career and also manage my personal responsibilities, I began to feel overwhelmed. Really overwhelmed. Even when I was still, my body felt like it was moving. For example, if I was sitting in a parked car, I would feel like the car was moving and jump to hit the brakes. My doctor said it was the amount of stress I was under. No matter how much I neglected myself, how many short cuts I took or how much I gave, I just couldn’t make it all work. My husband saw my struggle and thought a maid might help. I was embarrassed that I wasn’t managing it all when the other women around me seemed to be doing just fine. Truth be told, I very much wanted help with cleaning the house. That would be one less thing I had to handle. Even though I knew having a maid would solve one of my problems, I had a hard time accepting that I should get one. I was concerned about my image. What would people think of me employing another person to clean my home? Would I be ridiculed as being uppity by family and friends? What would that do to our son? Would he be spoiled and expect others to pick up after him?
I was processing all the pros and cons, intent on making the best decision for my family. For my husband, it was a no-brainer: We worked long hours, the house needed to be cleaned and he wasn’t doing it. While I agreed with his logic, I still was quite reluctant to hire a maid.
I spoke to my mom about my concerns. She listened and then said words I return to frequently as I attempt to make sound decisions for my life. She said: You are trying to live your life like I lived mine. You can love me and admire me, but you don’t have to make the choices I made, your life is different. She said she was glad it was. My mom suggested that instead of trying to stringently follow her path that I make future decisions based on the appropriate information at hand; my choices should be based on what I knew to be the right call. She added that I was not to feel guilty or feel like I needed to explain my choices to anyone. Not even her. I understood her point, hired a maid and committed to be a good employer. Although I seemed to be in the superior position I intuitively knew that for this to work for my family, in my interactions with the maid I had to make sure she understood that she was valued and her contributions to my family bolstered me in a way that allowed me to ably manage higher priorities at that time. It needed to be a win-win.
That’s what I am thinking about as the results of the election are still being discussed. I am disappointed when I watch this continuing drama play out with President Trump and his supporters as they refuse to accept the legal results of our democracy.
I am currently reading a book titled “The Half Has Never Been Told” by Edward E. Baptist. In the book, Baptist discusses slavery and the making of capitalism. It’s a very hard read. Not in terms of the complexity of the content but rather in the rawness of the message. Baptist talks about how history has been whitewashed to deny the economic realities of slavery. At the end of the day it was all about that paper (i.e. money). First Native Americans were victimized and brutalized and then African-Americans. Baptist shares how the vast economic riches of the United States were attained through slavery. African-Americans were never considered more than human tools. Yet we gave so much to build this nation. That’s not fiction, that’s an undeniable fact.
What I want to say to those who continue to be disruptive and thereby embolden the president in his misdeeds: A simple God-fearing woman’s words may be of some benefit to you. You don’t have to live your life as your parents or grandparents (or your party affiliates). You can love them, work with them and hold them in the highest regard and know they too were fed lies (or created the lies) and acted accordingly to maintain a position of superiority. To get the cotton produced and sold, you had to truly believe that enslaved Joe, strapping buck that he was, would suffer no ill effects from being sold away from his wife and children. Sanity and the ability to sleep at night, required that such lies be considered truth.
However, this day, right now, you don’t have to make the choices that those who came before you made by denying the very real realities of injustices that occurred in the past and that are still occurring now. You don’t have to believe that you are a moral, ethical being because you go to church and recite biblical passages when you harbor hate for others merely because they are different. And your grandparents told jokes about them. And your parents laughed.
You don’t have to act in ways which fail to recognize the democratic power of everyday citizens for fear that your political power will be diminished, when you absolutely know that doing so denigrates the constitutional rights of us all. Even those that look like you. Your actions, in some ways, diminish the rights of Americans who have yet to be born and draw their first breath.
I implore you to make your own choices based on the compelling evidence presented. That’s the beauty of the democratic process. You don’t have to feel guilty about changing course particularly when readily available and credible information clearly shows the unexpected and monumental ramifications of your continuing down your present path. Break loose: Choose what is best for the nation and right now, demand that the president concede. And then, let’s all pledge to get our hands dirty, work hard and build anew, together. Win-win.