America, You are HERE.

Title Card from Television Show, 1954 (Wikipedia)

There is a lot of talk about the Republican National Convention this week. Donald Trump has officially been declared the presidential candidate representing the Republican party in the race for President of the United States, and everyone has lots to say about it.

People are acting shocked. Stunned. But why? We could see this coming a mile away. And next week, barring some miracle, the Democrats will be represented by Hillary Clinton. 2016’s POTUS race is almost guaranteed to be Trump/Clinton. There is no changing it. There is no fixing it. Everyone I know has bitched this entire campaign away and no one has managed to impact the trajectory of this country in the least.

THIS IS WHERE WE ARE, AMERICA. THIS IS WHAT WE’VE DONE.

My country is in a state of crisis. And I’ve wracked my brain trying to think of how to fix it. I’ve run every idea I’ve heard of, or read about, or dreamed up, around and around and around and I’ve come up empty with them all because we are talking ourselves to death. Talk, talk, talk.

Everyone is telling everyone what we all need to do to make things make sense again and there are a billion single ideas floating around out in cyberspace. And maybe 200 million of them are the same idea, but we have no way of knowing, because we have no sense of how to band together in any number large enough to make a dent in the crazy. We have no sense of community. Every idea anyone touches just disintegrates because there’s no glue to hold it together. We’re disconnected from one another. Raindrops falling, one by one; if we landed together, we could be an ocean.

But, we don’t.

So, I’m finished with a million ideas to fix America. I’m just going to work on fixing me, in a million little ways.

But a million is a really big number, so I’ll start with just a few:

  • I walk with my head down a lot. I’m going to work on facing forward, instead of downward.
  • I’ll be facing faces instead of feet, so I’ll look people in the eye.
  • And smile. Otherwise, suddenly I’m a little creepy. And I’m not trying to be creepy.
  • I’m going to exercise my right to vote, no matter how small my impact feels.
  • I’m going to pay more attention to what is going on around me.
  • If I see someone struggling — to keep from dropping something, or to open the door at work, or to get to something they can’t quite reach — I’m going to ask them if I can help them.
  • But I’m not going to assume they want my help.
  • I’m going to try and bring sunshine. Not rain.
  • I’m going to infuse life into the room instead of sucking the life out of it.
  • I’m going to remember that all people are people.
  • If a person’s circumstances make me uncomfortable, I’m going to remember that my reaction is about me, not them.
  • It’s easy to look the other way when someone is dirty, and homeless, and shaking from withdrawal. But under all of that is A PERSON. I forget that, even though I have been homeless and addicted. Thank goodness people reached out their hands to help me get my life back. I’m going to pay that forward more often, and better.
  • I’m going to take precautions when I’m out in the world to ensure my safety, but I’m not going to shut the world out because I’m afraid.
  • I’m going to actively listen. To my kids. To my mom. To my boss, and my friends, and my doctor.
  • If those I’m listening to ask me for feedback, then I’m going to provide them with feedback. If not, I won’t force it on them.
  • I’m going to give people the benefit of the doubt.
  • And second chances.
  • And thirds. Maybe.
  • But I have boundaries, and I have a voice, and I’m going to use them.
  • And I’m going to teach people to respect them. Because only I can do that.
  • I’m going to think before I speak.
  • I’m going to try not to say or do things that will hurt others unnecessarily.
  • I’m going to mind my own business. It is not my place to jump into the middle of other people’s conversations unless they ask me to. And sometimes, not even then.
  • I’m going to write a gratitude list. Every day. More than once a day, if I start feeling ungrateful. Because life is full of gifts and treasures that I take for granted all the time.
  • I’m going to try and stay where my hands are. Right here, right now. Because that’s all I have. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come.
  • I am going to work on accepting people and situations the way they are.
  • The only thing I’m going to try to change is ME.

BECAUSE I SURE AS HELL CAN’T CHANGE AMERICA.

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know I want it to be spelled right and punctuated correctly. I guess that’s something.

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know I want it to be spelled right and punctuated correctly. I guess that’s something.