Like many of you, I had a visceral reaction to the images of the Capitol Attack on January 6.
I didn’t expect fear alongside anger. I couldn’t stop the tears from streaming down my cheeks. I didn’t anticipate the extent of helplessness and disappointment at witnessing a collapse of our democracy.
It might be a bit much to compare those feelings to what I had experienced on September 11, 2001, but the words I found myself whispering over and over were the same: “This can’t be happening in America. This can’t be happening to America.”
As I do when I feel helpless, at a loss of words, and completely inconsolable — I painted. With no paper or paint or pens handy, I picked up my iPad and did what I would in my journal.
I cried through it, too. And then some more. I avoided reading a rehash of the day’s events on news outlets online. I turned the TV off. There were some hard conversations that evening with my six-year-old about why “Daddy and I looked like someone had died.”
I shared why I was feeling heartbroken. Why it’s important to respect the institution of democracy…why grownups sometimes fail to take responsibility for their actions. We talked about the freedom of the press, the role we play as consumers of (mis)information, why it’s important to be aware of inherent biases. I emphasized the importance of being kind and humble, but also speaking up in the face of moral corruption. And I listened.
It was fascinating, heartwarming and encouraging to see her immediately translate a lot of what we discussed into the six character pillars they constantly talk about, emulate and practice at school.
I went to bed in tears but comforted by hope — hope in our future, in our children, in this country.
And then I read this post by Morgan Harper Nichols, it made all the sense in the world.
There are no
“two sides of the aisle”
in the kitchen.
There is a table.
There are chairs.
There are human beings bound together
by a need for nourishment,
and in order for that to happen,
we have to bring our ingredients together
and work to create a feast
so that everyone
can be fed.
For unity to happen,
we have to acknowledge the ingredients
that have worked
and the ones that have been missing.
In the kitchen,
there are no “two sides of the aisle”
There is a pot in front of us.
And it’s time to cook.
Some of what we will try will work.
Some of what we will try will not.
But the water is already boiling on the stove,
and we need to eat
Let’s get to work.
It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be pretty, either. But with real work, grit, active community participation and introspection, we can bring about change. We can build a future that is inclusive and fair.
I’m (re)learning from my six-year old that we can make our world a simpler, safer, and better place when guided by our moral compass. It’s really not that complicated. I am not saying there’s a magic recovery to “all things normal.” Our normal is screwed up. This is a time to introspect, to unite, and to act with intention.
I will leave you with this powerful image from Danielle Coke.
P.S. If you have kids and are looking to have conversations with them about the recent attack on the US Capitol, this is a helpful resource.