Nicole Sharp

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Let’s talk…

 

Peace FlagsHi, hey hello. I’m talking to you, you beautiful Human!

How you doing? You okay?

Been a rough week huh? Shaken to your very core maybe?

Yup, but listen. Someone recently said four words with such conviction that I am on fire. My anger is dissipating and I find myself rolling up my sleeves.

Okay, listen to me you AMAZING person.

First, let’s breathe. Deep breath. Breathe in the hope and the power of your personal self and breathe out the fear.

Do that again. Do it a few times. I’ll wait.

Great! Now listen to me.

We are going to be okay. (Those weren’t the words that got to me.)

These were: I HAVE A PLAN!

First part of the plan, hug someone today. Even if they are family. Even if you hug them all the time. Hug someone. There is so much backlash and resentment and anger filling the ether right now that we need to stop and do something productive against it. Start with a hug. Ridiculous and too little of an action, right? Wrong.

Hugging: good for you, good for the one being hugged, good for the world.

If you find that you hug the right person, you might get emotional again. Good. That means you are connecting with another human on a human level.

Second part of the plan. Repeat after me. “I am not alone.”

You are not alone.

Wanna crunch some numbers on that one?

According to the Heavy Protests have been held in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin.

There have even been protests here in Boise, Idaho. In my own little corner of the world. So we don’t know how more other small cities have had protests that just didn’t make the world news.

That is a lot of people showing the rest of the world that we did not vote for the orange monster in the golden tower (I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to say his name or type it.)

That is a lot of solidarity. Cool!

That is also a lot of dissension. Damn.

Okay, according to the ACLU, “The right to join with fellow citizens in protest or peaceful assembly is critical to a functioning democracy and at the core of the First Amendment.”

Here’s the thing. An important word there is “Peaceful”. Tricky when you get a group of angry, like-minded people together, but we MUST remember the peace.

On his twitter feed on November 9th, Patton Oswalt, (a recent find for me and a very funny and very interesting voice of reason) said: “Guys, the #TrumpProtests aren’t “riots.” They’re to assure a nervous planet Earth that we’ll go against him if he tries something crazy.”

Did you feel that? A little flutter? You are not alone!

However, we are scared.

Are you scared? I’m scared.

But, and here I’m going to say something you might not like. The people who voted for the orange beast in the golden tower, they are scared too.

Not to mention, this feeling, this gut wrenching fear right here. This is how they felt when Obama was elected. Isn’t that a sickening thought? I find myself shaking my head thinking, there is no way someone felt this upset and angry and hysterical about Obama being elected. It was such a boon!

But guess what, we’re not all the same. We haven’t all been brought up the same way. And there are those people who felt everything you are feeling now, about Obama.

And if you want to really push your empathy a bit further. @absurdistwords said “For many marginalized people, this spike in distress you feel this morning is what we feel EVERY morning.”

That amazing voice @absurdistwords is an amazing human. He is a calm voice in the raging sea right now. And he has a lot of ideas for places to volunteer, donate and how to love your fellow human.

(Yeah, but Nicole…Obama couldn’t have been this bad…this is so much worse…this is…)

I get it. I do. You have no idea how I understand.

But here is the difference between humans who were fearful of Obama, and humans who are fearful of the orange beast. We have it in us to be the bigger person and try to understand them. They were never given the tools to try and understand us. Ignorance breeds fear.

So we have one side of the country who is so fearful, that they voted for the orange beast in the golden tower. And the other side who is so fearful because since the orange beast was voted into office, an awful lot of our rights are threatened.

Can you hear the screaming and the rage across the country?

I thought I could until I went to Chick Fil A yesterday.  (Stick with me through this tangent. ) Two refugee workers (very nice young women who wear headwraps) were smiling taking on the lunch rush. I swear there was a feeling of most patrons who wanted to wrap these girls in a hug and tell them ‘we got your back.’ I watched my daughter playing with two Pakistani children. I watched people being polite to each other. Doors were held longer it seemed. I watched everyone make eye contact with each other. Mom’s helped other moms. A diverse group of teenage girls laughed throughout their lunch and when two little girls wandered over to their table looking lost, but intrigued by the big girls. I watched in awe our future. I watched three teenagers stand up, take the hands of the girls and help them walk through the restaurant to find their parents.

Yeah, I did cry then. Because that moment right there. That kindness, those young women looking after the young girls, that’s what we need to do. That’s what we are doing. That is exactly who we are doing it all for.

I digress. Protesting.

Do it. Go do it, but don’t forget that when those who voted for the orange monster in the golden tower see us protesting. They will only see their own fear.

It isn’t fair. Not by a long shot. But it is up to us to try and have a conversation with them. It’s going to take a lot of work and it’s going to take a lot of one on one conversations to change things. It’s going to take a lot of respect for people who are so scared, their fear comes across in bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia and all the colors of the fearful rainbow.

Does that make it okay? No.

But can we work toward respecting each other, regardless of our combative views? I have to believe we can.

Is it going to be easy? Hell fucking no.

Who is going to have to make the first move? Me and you.

Seems impossible, huh?

So, we take away the fear.

How?

For one, we could probably use Sister Theresa’s mindset. “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”

Maybe we need to have a few Pro-United States of America rallies. A peaceful gathering of Americans.

It’s an idea. And ideas are where the good work starts.

This work will not, I repeat, NOT be some instant gratification thing. It’s going to take commitment and time. So let’s get to work.

But how? That’s the next step in my plan.

I don’t mean you protest every day. I don’t mean this as a call to arms. I mean this as a call to humanity.

You are stronger than you think you are. Remember what the bumper stickers said after the Twin Tower’s fell? “United we Stand.” No president did that. No one man brought us together. We, the People, brought us together.

Next part of my plan. Educate yourself.

We are surrounded by resources like no one else before us ever had. We are surrounded by information. Don’t just sit there and feel sorry for the state of our country. The first thing we need to figure out is how to talk to those who think bigotry is okay.

This was a great read, on how to deal with bigotry in so many facets of your life. It had great suggestions on how to confront people and how to talk to them when you stand up against racism in your everyday life. We can speak up for others. We can stand up for our neighbor. We can let them know they are not alone.

There are wide-spread reports on recent hate crimes. What can we do?

“If this is indeed a new dawn for hate, then we must use the sunshine to our advantage. We must embrace the victims of harassment with warmth and love, and we must shine the brightest light possible on these acts of bigotry. We must encourage those targeted to keep documenting the harassment for the public record in any way they can — through Twitter, Facebook, or any other medium — and we must amplify their voices. When they don’t have the strength to document the harassment, we must (with their permission) do it for them. And we must find ways to speak out against and condemn such harassment: Every. Single. Time.”

Educate yourself. On congress, democracy, the government, on your personal rights, on the life of your neighbor. Hell, go to Coursera and take one of their free University courses that interest you. I’m taking Introduction to Ancient Egypt and Its Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania right now.

Did you know there is an election in 2018? Here is something I found just down right fascinating! In 2018 there will be 33 seats available in the senate. Right now, Republicans have 52 seats, Democrats have 46 (Hey guys, they gained two seats during this election!!! Which means the Republicans lost two. Remember, little changes add up.) The Independent party have 2 seats. So…there will be 33 seats available in 2018. If we educate ourselves and vote in the midterm elections, we can continue to show that our voices have a right to be heard. This was an interesting read on the seats that will be available. And this was an interesting read about preparing for 2018. According to the Independent “If Democrats get to work on outreach now, they could reclaim the US Congress in two years.”

If you have to work, raise kids, feed them, do laundry and at some point try to get sleep and would love to volunteer but can’t, DONATE! I’m not talking hundreds of dollars. I’m talking about giving up one coffee a month.

But who do you donate to?

Well, for starters there’s the NAACPPlanned Parenthood, the Southern Poverty Law CentreCouncil on American-Islamic RelationsAmerican Friends Service Committee’s US-Mexico border programme, and nonprofit journalism organisations like The Centre for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica.

Are you still feeling iffy? Like, great I have a bit of a personal plan now, but I’m still scared?

I got you.

This was awesome to find out.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immediately took a stand. They posted this on their website when the orange beast won the election. “If Donald Trump Implements His Proposed Policies, We’ll See Him in Court.” Here’s the picture they tweeted.

court-trump

 

Then they released this letter to him:

“President-elect Trump, as you assume the nation’s highest office, we urge you to reconsider and change course on certain campaign promises you have made. These include your plan to amass a deportation force to remove 11 million undocumented immigrants; ban the entry of Muslims into our country and aggressively surveil them; punish women for accessing abortion; reauthorize waterboarding and other forms of torture; and change our nation’s libel laws and restrict freedom of expression.

These proposals are not simply un-American and wrong-headed, they are unlawful and unconstitutional. They violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and 14th Amendments. If you do not reverse course and instead endeavor to make these campaign promises a reality, you will have to contend with the full firepower of the ACLU at every step. Our staff of litigators and activists in every state, thousands of volunteers and millions of card-carrying members and supporters are ready to fight against any encroachment on our cherished freedoms and rights.

One thing is certain: We will be eternally vigilant every single day of your presidency. And when you leave the Oval Office, we will do the same with your successor as we have done throughout our nearly 100 years of existence. The Constitution and the rule of law are stronger than any one person, and we will see to that. We will never waver.”

From the Independent “Those concerned for the future of the US can donate money to organizations like the ACLU who are prepared to fight for people who face the most impact from Mr. Trump should he implement his policies.”

Did you read that and hear that? Let’s read it again, it calmed me down.

“The ACLU…are prepared to fight for people who face the most impact from (the orange headed beast in the golden tower) should he implement his policies.”

There are people who will fight. Take a deep breath and take that in. I

f there are people prepared to fight. That means there are people who will stand up.

But this time, my friends, THIS TIME they CAN NOT do it alone. We all have to find a way to help. Whether we give our time, our signature, or a few bucks. It isn’t only on the big stages that we need to help each other. Help a local charity. Help out at the food bank. Help out at your church. Help your neighbor rake their leaves. Buy a Starbucks for your mailman.

Kindness is a ripple effect.

As a woman, however, we need to be vigilant over the next four years. And we need to help each other. We must not forget our sisters. Maybe look to your local women’s shelters and women’s rights groups and support them. It’s as easy as searching for Women’s Rights groups in (my area).

I don’t know about you. But I refuse to live in fear for four years.

There is always something we can do. There is always a way to make our little corners of the world better. There is so much good information out there right now. So many positive words. Choose to be part of the solution. Turn off the arguments and screaming, try to turn on the humanity.

I’m fired up my friend. I have hope. I am also living in the reality that it’s going to be difficult. I would love to run, but I’m prepared to face the difficult times. And I’m prepared to help you face the difficulties too. I’ve got something to say now and I’d like to start a conversation.

Do no harm my beautiful friend, but take no shit.

 

4 Comments

  1. As always… love you❤

  2. Beautifully analyzed and written, Nicole! You are one of the people keeping me sane these days. In old school slang, I’m down! (But in a good way!) I’ll stand with you.

  3. !!!!well said my daughter!!
    I love you for your strength of character

  4. Ariane Kimlinger

    November 14, 2016 at 2:48 am

    Thank God, the world has people like you Nicole, I’m starting to breathe again. Clearly, I needed this blog post.

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