Be the Change…Thoughts from a Canadian the Morning After the US Election

Digital illustration of a monarch butterfly life cycle

As Trump closed in on winning the election last night I couldn’t bear to watch. I went to bed and curled up in a fetal position. This morning I opened up the news on my computer and the rest, as they say, is history.

I am Canadian so results from the US shouldn’t bother me as much as they have. But I am also human. We are all in this together whether we like it or not. It’s like the butterfly effect theory. You know, where a butterfly flaps its wings in China and causes a hurricane in New Mexico. Pebbles plunk and ripples roar. And so on and so forth.

Maybe Hillary lost because of her first name and the US was simply not ready for a female president, as incongruous as that sounds in this day and age. Or maybe she lost because of her last name and people were just wanting something different from the so-called establishment. I don’t know.

I want to believe that Trump voters were simply feeling insecure about jobs and their future and voted out of fear or a desire for change. Any change. I don’t want to believe that the world is regressing into a less tolerant, racist, misogynist place. Or worse, that it never really progressed at all. I don’t want to think the last 50 years were nothing but smoke and mirrors.

I am also thinking now, more than ever, is not a time to give up, or sit back and judge. It’s a time to be the change, as Gandhi once said. Except he didn’t really say that at all. Not exactly. What he really said was this:

We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do. 

The last line is key. From it comes the often flouted “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

“We need not wait to see what others do” works too.

Curling up in a fetal position to await the outcome of another country’s election is not being the change. It’s waiting to see what others do.

What kind of world do you envision? I see a world filled with compassion, tolerance and empathy. Is that the sort of person I am? Or am I rigid, judgemental and intolerant of those who don’t share my own beliefs?

I don’t want to stand in judgment anymore or give up on humanity because they don’t always share my outlook. I don’t want to let that kind of darkness in. We are all in this beautiful mess together, for better or worse. If I can’t try to understand the Trumps of the world, how can I expect to be understood? If I hate people for their beliefs how is that ever going to move the world into a place of love?

What was it that Maya Angelou said…Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in our world but it hasn’t solved one yet.

I’m just full of quotes and coffee this morning.

So this is what I’m going to do. I am going to find ways and places to be compassionate, tolerant and show empathy. That may sound infantile or about as helpful right now as a fart in a hurricane, but hey; a butterfly flaps its wings in China and look what can happen.

Stone pile in a Zen Garden with butterfly balanced on a Earth gl

Stone pile in a Zen Garden with butterfly balanced on a Earth globe on a white background

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About The Good Slice (34 Articles)
Living a Pretty Good Life One Slice at a Time

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