It seems like everyday there is something new. And depending on which circle of beliefs, or what "America" you live or believe is just, the last few days have been an absolute whirlwind. Again, that could be for the good, or the bad - that is clearly up to you.
For me, I find myself having plenty of conversations with students and colleagues - and often asked about my opinion on the current political climate. Truthfully, I am not exactly at the point of exasperation, anger, and overall burnout as I was in 2016, but in a severe state of incredulousness.
Currently, everyone has an opinion, every is passionate, everyone is fiery, and with that comes the incredible amount of fake news, untruths, misguided comments, "alternative facts", and an overwhelming realization of the vast emptiness where empathy ought to be.
If you read this blog, it's pretty evident where my opinions and core passions lay. Yet, I am currently trying to remove myself from the process, from the constant evolution, and yes, even from the repeated resistance of the current societal climate, in order to examine what exactly is happening, and why. It's a pretty tough task. Really, for me, it's surreal. How did we get here? Where are we going? How does this affect so many various issues? And of course, who does this affect?
It's easy to blame President Trump, or if you're on the other side, defend him. But this has more to do with us - the people. More than ever, there is a divide that expands greater than just race, an aspect which has always plagued the nation since it's inception. This is beginning to feel like there is an expanding fundamental gap in philosophies or what exactly is "American", and how that ties into all of our values, laws, and pursuits.
President Trump vows, "America First". And many applaud with hope of such a priority becoming the focus. Yet, it includes the banning of people, the removal of others, and the tearing apart of families - a nation itself built on those founding policies. And of course, we can go into religious freedoms if we want as well. Even the definition of "pro-life" which suddenly is now just a phrase for abortion, but not when it comes to the exclusion of "certain" people.
As I continue to dive deeper into my passion of helping underrepresented and international students within higher education, it's become tougher to offer up rhetoric of hope and the urge to carry that power for change and resistance with them. With the latest ban on several muslim countries, I sit here, among all of the questions regarding the situation itself, and I now find myself in a quagmire in what to say to these students. What do I say to these real human beings who fear for their future? Because I know anything I offer up to help place a band-aid on their worries will now be unbelievable - for them, and even for me.
As I freely punch the keys here, it all just feels like the severe lack of empathy has made life decisions more about political contest or argument, or even about a distorted sense of what "America" should be, rather than the true governing of lives - of real and genuine human beings.
But hey, this is where we are. This is the moment in time and history. I'm still trying to make sense of this, much like most of you. And I'm pretty sure there will be more posts like this follow.