Yesterday, I helped a neighbor push their car out of a ditch after sliding on some black ice.
That is the version of the story that is easiest and paints everyone in a fair light.
Here’s what happened according to me:
Yesterday, I heard a car crash into the ditch. After listening to the man that was in the passenger seat shouting obscenities at the young woman who was driving for longer than I care to admit, I walked over.
I offered help and suggested that yelling at her wasn’t the best thing for the situation. I collected a larger family member, and we three (my family, passenger seat guy, and I) pushed the car out of the ditch while the young lady gunned it in reverse.
We were successful.
Here’s how this relates to the election:
The day after the election I did not want to leave my house. I felt unsafe knowing that over half of the country (before popular voting was totalled) voted for someone who had sexually harassed women, someone from whom we had to shield our children, someone who wanted to kick people out who came here to live freely.
I became afraid in ways that I was not ever afraid before. I thought people were generally reasonable, open-minded (which is to say “open-hearted”), and helpful. I felt wrong about that. I felt like my freedom had been compromised because I felt like I was no longer safe in my city, my state, my country.
And, what’s worse is that I am a white woman! I can’t imagine what it must have felt like and feels like to be a minority!
Back to the point.
Before the election, I would have approached that guy yelling at the girl and done the same thing: tried to diffuse the situation.
It turns out that after the election with all of my fear and disappointment, I am the same person.
Approaching a yelling guy with adrenaline pumping was not the safest thing to do. I recognize that. I am not encouraging anyone to do something like that alone.
However, they were surrounded by houses.
Everyone heard the accident.
Everyone heard the shouting and the obscenities, and the only person who stepped in to help was me.
If we don’t inconvenience ourselves, if we refuse to get involved, if we won’t get our hands dirty, we will not change anything.
When the couple pulled away from the accident, I looked the young lady and the guy in the eye. I suggested they take a look at their tire when they were able, and you know what, he said thank you.
I have no idea what their home life is like. I have no idea what the rest of their day was like. I have no idea who they voted for if they voted at all, but we came together and got the car out of the ditch.
And, that felt pretty good.