Last night, my husband read me an Op-Ed written by Russian President Vladimir Putin and published in the New York Times. Upon hearing the first few paragraphs, I couldn’t help but shrug my shoulders and reluctantly find myself nodding in agreement with his assessment of the current situation with Syria.
By the end of the article, however, I was angry. When we’ve been publicly chastised by a foreign leader inside our own newspapers, something has gone drastically, drastically wrong.
All day long yesterday, I had a knot in my stomach as I considered the current political situation of our country and the unrest around the world. I felt frustrated and angry. I tried to push those feelings aside, because really who am I to be angry? I’m a white, middle class mother of three who lives in a nice house, has plenty of food and drives a (smokin’ hot) minivan across town. My husband has a good job and we are healthy.
Somehow I feel like these things give me less of a right to be angry. Who am I to complain? What have I got to be angry about?
It dawned on me this morning, however, that I have every right to be angry. In fact, I have three solid reasons to feel anger. I kissed them all good bye this morning and as the bus drove off a deep sadness joined the anger burning in my chest. I’m both sad and angry – two equally distressing emotions that lay heavy against my heart.
I have been severely let down by the men and women who were elected to serve our country – the people who are supposed to be my voice. I shudder to think of all that could go wrong in the remaining three years of this president’s term. I’m frightened to think of all that could change leaving my children in a permanently neutered world.
I’m angry because the leaders who were supposed to represent me and my family have ignored us. They’ve turned their backs on us. They are more interested in political games and popularity posturing than they are in my interests. They’re busy trying to put round rolls on square pegs.
And in the meantime, I’m sitting on the sidelines, hands folded patiently, knuckles growing white as I try to maintain control. I’m looking at my children and praying they stay healthy because the current landscape of healthcare has changed so much that visiting the doctor outside of our regular well child visits can quickly become a financial burden. And don’t even get me started on antibiotics.
I’m listening to news of a potential involvement in a war that doesn’t belong to us and my hands begin to tremble. I resist the urge to run to Facebook and air out all my pent up anger ALL IN CAPS FOR EFFECT, because what good will it do? It doesn’t matter how I feel – they’re going to do what they want to do and isn’t that sad?
I read the news articles and shake my head at the back and forth between our leaders who I no longer feel are working in the best interest of my family. They’re posturing themselves for the next election. They’re playing chess, drawing red lines in the sand, trying to save face.
They’re playing roulette with my children’s future and I don’t appreciate it.
By nature I’m a glass half full kind of girl. I’m prone to hope, prone to look for the best, always assuming that things can only get better. I try hard not to speak ill of my leaders. There is so much noise in the world right now. So many people flinging their opinions out in a way that is hateful and spiteful and disrespectful. I don’t want to add to the fray.
I have a deep amount of respect for the office of President. I don’t for a second assume it to be an easy job. I respect anyone who even has the aspirations to become president because I know that the path is marred with stress, difficulty and a huge amount of responsibility.
Because I have such a deep respect for the office, it pains me to think ill of the man in office. Though I did not offer him my vote, when it was all said in done, I hoped to see him succeed, because his success would directly impact my family. Perhaps he thinks he has succeeded. I don’t really know – I don’t know what to think anymore.
I know what I can do, though : I know that I will continue to chauffer my children in my (smokin’ hot) minivan, and as I do I will teach them the things that made our country great. I’ll tell them what it means to serve your country, to serve God, to serve others. I’ll teach them the Constitution and try to help them decipher it in a world that is hell bent on tearing it apart.
I will teach them to be kind and generous. I will teach them to care for others and love well. I will teach them what true leadership looks like. I’ll teach them to respect their leaders even when they disagree. I’ll teach them to stand up for what’s right even if it isn’t popular.
I’ll do all these things and I will continue to cling to the little strand of hope I have left that things will get better – that maybe the politicians will hear me and will want to earn my trust back. It seems unlikely because, after all, I’m “just” a mom in a minivan.
But I can hope…right?