Elections have come and gone, and we are left with a fragile, deeply divided, uncertain society. We are standing, sightless, in a haze left over from cruel barbs and blame. A noxious haze clogging our moral center, clouding the core issues. Every day for months past. Fury. Bitterness. Ugliness. Now, half of our country is entrenched in shock, while the other half is satisfied, gleeful.
How does a country move forward with such a discordant gap in beliefs?
I am pretty cynical when it comes to politics, Democrat, Republican, Tea, Coffee, you name it. I don’t believe that any one party can do the job of leading the country consistently better than another.
When I take sides, I side with our planet. When I vote, I vote for our planet. Its health. Its longevity. Its gifts and wonders.
I vote for the women and men who have shown they care about and are willing to work at preserving our home, because without a home that works efficiently, there won’t be an economy or war or walls or healthcare to debate.
Most of the leaders of today aren’t my top pick. I don’t have a heck of a lot of faith they will heal this country. I worry about the poor communication lines, the self-serving choices, the narrow fields of vision.
I am in mourning. I cry for what will happen to our planet in the years ahead. I cry for the thousands upon thousands of people who could lose their lives in their brave attempts to seek safety and freedom. I cry for those whose rights may be trampled upon. I cry for the voices that long to speak up but don’t know how, or can’t.
My initial goal as a writer was fairly simple: to write the stories that keep me up at night, that rummage through my soul all day. Writing has always been a calling for me, something I could never successfully shake. Like the stray dog you try to leave at the shelter but leaps over the chain-link fence and chases you down Route 4. Writing always finds me, even when I feel like I can’t possibly do it justice.
Over the past few years, that goal has reshaped, partly organically, partly through my own vision and awareness and growth. I came to see a writer’s job as something more than creating nether worlds. That calling that used to be all about words that entertain, had morphed into something a bit deeper, a bit daunting. Something that asked more of me.
And then, last week happened. The calling is no longer a calling. A mission, perhaps. A deal with the devil, even, or maybe just a really bad-ass angel. A chance to speak up. A dare to put myself to the test.
I am a writer who has been deeply affected by the turn of events over the last week. I have much to say, but in the midst of this uncertainty and fear and raucous celebration, my words seem like the weight of a single raindrop and just as thirst-quenching.
I know that words can make a difference. But in extreme cases, words aren’t enough on their own. Sometimes, we have to stand behind them and act on their behalf. A perfect example of show, don’t tell. It is a writer’s duty to use words, stories, messages to connect people. But I believe, now more than ever, that duty doesn’t stop there.
I believe a writer’s job is to make a difference. I don’t mean just politically, but in any area a writer holds strong beliefs. Writers are the motivators, the entertainers, the teachers of their own audience. Writers are a voice for many, and with that power comes huge responsibility.
We must look ahead to find the best path of communication. Fuel good intentions while genuinely listening to the other side. We must write hard and passionately in what we believe. To reach the outskirts of our audience and beyond, write with truth, grace, depth, courage, ferocity, knowledge, fairness. A good writer is not still or quiet or absent. We must question, comprehend, break down the crux of experiences so that we can share it with others—to further equality, peace, health, safety, respect, love.
As writers, holding back, staying down—not an option. As writers, writing nothing—not an option. As writers, it is our job to help keep this world flourishing.
As writers, we must write. And write like we mean it.