In Search Of Understanding

I went back and forth on whether to use this week's blog post to acknowledge and address the election. I ultimately decided that I couldn’t not. After speaking to many people, it turns out I’m not alone in feeling like I’m going through the stages of relief, euphoria and now disbelief at what we’ve all been through as a country. And not just the last two weeks, but the last four years. The feeling that I’ve settled on now is confusion. But even with that confusion, I have learned a few things that leave me feeling hopeful for the future. 

Why, as a country are we so divided? I can’t imagine that one single person has the power to divide a country… that would be some superpower that is reserved for mythical figures, gods and saints. For many, politics is a controversial word, a taboo subject, something to keep to yourself. But I see politics as a conversation of values and ideals, and to avoid the conversation strikes me as withholding who you are. Most of us know someone close who we don't agree with, and I have always been of the mindset to openly discuss my positions, because I want those who care about me to know me fully, and I want to know those I care about fully as well. Politics informs policies and policies affect peoples lives either negatively or positively. I can’t extract any of this from who I am and what I believe in.

And in sharing who I am, I trust that it’s safe to do so. Just as it was safe to in the days before social media when you would hang with your friends and share your dreams, ideas and values. And this isn’t to say that I always agreed with my friends or shared their values, or vice versa, but we talked about it, shouted about it, stopped speaking about it and then, found common ground and moved on. To me, that’s what showing up and giving the gift of oneself is all about. Trusting that after all of the disagreements, we will be left with respect and appreciation for each others similarities and differences. But today, with social media, it feels like it’s much harder to come to that understanding and reconciliation. Social media has made it very easy to hide behind an interpretation of what we think people want to see, or who we truly are because we’re afraid to be known, afraid to be disliked, afraid of the uncensored bullying that runs rampant online. Social media has allowed us to dismiss, belittle, or flat out ignore each other, even those we know the best. We are able to cherry pick the nice things, the pretty things, and not get into the weeds of who we really are, and what we really believe. And it’s not that I wasn’t ever bullied on the playground, because I was. But back then, the bully had to look me in the eye, and couldn’t hide behind their avatar.

I miss the conversation, and I don’t feel like those in power of late have helped enable it. When I think about leadership, particularly in public office, I think that we choose who best represents our character and our values. I was initially shocked that Donald Trump won the election four years ago, but I understood two things: There were a lot of people who strongly disliked Hillary Clinton and there were a lot of people who were fed up with politicians and wanted to give a businessman a shot. I was ready to see what he could do for the country, how he could translate his experiences into looking at the challenges the country faced and finding solutions. And ultimately making the country better and not just for some, but better for everyone. If you've been following me for a while, it's no secret that I've struggled with Donald Trump and the way he's conducted himself in office. The things he's said, the policies he's pursued, his record not only in office, but in his career as a businessman and entertainer have caused reactions in me that range from annoyance to disgust. And perhaps the hardest thing for me to understand is as over 240,000 people have died from this pandemic, and millions of family members are suffering because of it, his response seems to be more about politicizing the simple things we can do to fight it, than about reaching out in the spirit of community to help those who are suffering from it. I do not believe that Donald Trump represents the best of America. And while I could wrap my head around why someone might want to give him a shot the first time, as hard as I try, given all that has transpired in these last four years, I truly don’t understand why so many voted for him the second time. I’m struggling, and I would like to know. It’s the conversation I would like to have, but it’s the conversation that is so hard to come by.

There is no perfect President because there is no perfect person. And I’m not here to defend Joe Biden, but I do believe that he's like a metaphorical life vest we can all cling to while we catch our breath after the chaos of the last four years. He deserves a chance just like Donald Trump deserved a chance. And if we all take a step back, I hope we can agree that, after 231 years of only white men holding the office of Vice President, seeing Kamala Harris, a biracial woman break the mold, is an historic moment. Maybe we can celebrate that.

So, as we look towards Thanksgiving and a new year, here are my hopes and wishes: First and foremost, that we can all talk in facts, have evidence-based conversations, and then layer in values and ideals; that we respect each other enough to hear opposing views and ask more questions than have answers; that we all do better than stone walling or cyber slamming. And I know the temptation all too well. But, it’s ugly and it’s not who we were before we were able to hide behind social media, and I believe it’s not who we want to be. Our world is watching us. Our humanity depends on us finding the peace that we all long for.

 

Sending lots of love,

 

 

14 comments

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I agree with everything you said. My relief at the outcome of the election is immense. Yet my anxiety is still high because the hate continues to show its ugly face. I pray that decency, respect for one other and peace will return to us as a country. God bless us all.

Bernadette Durkin November 29, 2020

I’ve been so overwhelmed by the support for my post. Thank you all so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts. It means the world to have a community like this. This blog format sadly doesn’t allow me to respond individually, so I hope you all get this. Sending love to you all xoxo

Caroline Diani November 19, 2020

loved every word, thank you!

Chris Wong November 17, 2020

Bravely stated. I have struggled to put into words what you have so accurately expressed in this post. I especially feel the heaviness at being unable to fully express myself to those I love. Thank you for your honesty. It is helping me in my struggle to find a way through this.

Tee Cee November 16, 2020

Thank you for sharing that. Thoughtful and beautifully written.

Bridget Ziadie November 16, 2020

Very well said. Thank you.

Maria Tanner November 16, 2020

Thank you all for reading the post and sharing your thoughts. I so appreciate it! xoxo

Caroline Diani November 15, 2020

yes!The “In Search of Understanding” post was so refreshing to read. I absolutely share a lot of the same sentiments. I do think it is important to be able to discuss and express our views. I do want to say as a brown woman, I think its vital that safety be a consideration. I understand this statement of safety being a consideration can be off-putting to people, especially in a predominantly white community such as Santa Barbara, however, its just the truth that many of us don’t have the same rights as our neighbors even though we are supposed to. So yes for sure, yes to people discussing and expressing our views but please bear in mind (I say this to everyone) that when discussing and expressing views, consider that all of us are not treated with equity nor equally. This reality has never stopped me from speaking up, and I would never imagine not speaking up. I have many friends that are the same way. I just want reality to be a consideration rather than what I have been met with in SB which is an attitude of “oh we don’t have racism here.” um, yes. yes we do. reality is often misrepresented and women of color, especially my dear friends that are black women get the short end of the stick. and that is just unacceptable to me. So, yes! yes to searching for understanding but please, do look for the truth of reality, everyone. rather than what we hope to be true or want to manifest.

Supriya November 15, 2020

Caroline,

I feel the same as you do! Thank you for sharing!

Beckie

Rebecca Miller November 15, 2020

Some say I might be biased, but I am so proud of you. Always searching. Always asking the questions. I am so so proud.

Jeffrey Doornbos November 15, 2020

I’d have more respect for Kamala Harris if the state of California was in a better condition. So MANY qualified women. Xx

Jen Alessi November 15, 2020

Brava

Lara Morabito November 15, 2020

Beautifully said, Caroline. Thank you

Sara Deckett November 15, 2020

I appreciate you taking the time to write that heartfelt statement – and it pretty much captures what I feel/have felt through the past 4 years and this election. thank you for putting your values out there fearlessly.

Vicki Stauber November 15, 2020

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