Two years ago I was clueless about politics. Like, CLUELESS. I will fully admit, I still don’t know much, but I’m learning. I watch the news, I read, I talk to people, I google stuff I don’t understand. I am more informed than ever before and I learn something new every day.
I think this motivation to get with the program has stemmed from a few places. First, the basic fact that I’m growing up has probably been the most significant factor. Leaving the fantasyland that is college (as an undergrad) and entering the real world forces you to open your eyes and become a real person. Next, I moved to Arlington, VA. Living (literally) two miles up the road from the Pentagon and mere miles from the Whitehouse forces you to engage in politics to an extent. You can’t have a conversation with many people in the DMV without at least some political undertones. This has its ups and downs, but if you accept it and use it as a tool, you can learn a lot. Finally, more recently, as is the case with MANY, November’s election. It was simply impossible to avoid politics this past year.
So here we are, the night before the 2017 inauguration, and I have some thoughts running through my head. Despite what my small-town, white, working-class upbringing may indicate, I (very proudly) cast my vote for Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, she is not the leader being inaugurated tomorrow. It hit me as I sat in a copious amount of traffic on my way home from class tonight, what an incredible opportunity living in the DC area COULD be this weekend. I wish the person being inaugurated was someone I felt pride for and would be honored to see, but that just isn’t the case, so instead I, like many others, am looking for a silver lining. It’s a bit foggy, but here’s what I can see.
First, next weekend, the DC streets and bike paths that have become my home over 2.5 years of long runs will still be waiting. I will continue to pound the pavement and work to make myself better, regardless of who is holding the power in this country.
I will cherish my own position of power as an educator and continue to teach my students positive values like respect, inclusion, kindness, and tolerance. It is more important now than ever before in my lifetime.
I will #justshowup at the Lincoln Memorial at 5:25 on Wednesday mornings to work my ass off and spread positive vibes with the incredible November Project community, all while continuing to be awed by this nation’s capitol. What a privilege it is to run this city.
I will continue to put forth my best effort in my master’s education and write the best thesis I can, in order to make an impact on the intersection of athletics and mental health one day.
And finally, I will lead by example. I will treat people with respect despite opposing opinions. I will listen to views that contradict my own and do my best to keep an open mind. I will engage in productive and meaningful discussions because I believe that is the only way to fuel change. I will spread compassion and positivity when I can and ask for help and support when I need it. I will work on myself each and every day and encourage others to do the same.
This is not the end of anything even though I know it may feel that way. If you want things to get better, be better.
Oh…and Thanks, Obama.