Democracy in motion

“Doing OK, my friend? Just checking in.”

It was a direct message that came through after this tweet.

My reply…

“Honestly? My heart hurts. I am struggling with a personal issue with my son and trying to comprehend how my country could support a candidate who ran on hate. But I will survive. We all will.”

Twelve hours later I’m not so sure.

After everything else, the tweet below was the breaking point for me. Less than 140 characters, it’s a personal note about male vs. female, and how it shouldn’t matter, but it does.

The reason I started writing my Positively Raleigh column for Raleigh & Company was to focus on the good, to tell the stories of people, places and projects that make our city the amazing community it is. To counter the bad news we see all too often.

Thanks to my mother’s influence, tempered a little by my dad’s realism, I have spent my entire life spinning any situation into the bright side. That a challenge can turn into a lesson learned. That a loss often turns into an opportunity for something better later.

Always, that “I’m fine,” in the very best midwestern voice I can muster.
But maybe not this time.

I want to believe that the votes from nearly 63 million people were about jobs, and Washington insiders. But at its simplest level, how do I reconcile the country I love choosing a bully over a woman who has dedicated her life to making a difference? How do I explain that to my children?

If there is one way I choose to live my life, it is by the golden rule. For me, that one simple idea — treat others the way you wish to be treated — solves everything.

It solves choosing what women do with their own bodies. Taking away freedoms. Telling someone they are “less than” due to the color of their skin, or their religion, or their gender. Endangering clean water, and clean air, the very world that gives us life.

Those four sentences don’t even begin to illustrate my anguish, and the pain I see in so many other people’s eyes in the grocery stores, on the street, everywhere I look, but I just can’t write any more. I am taking a break. From Raleigh & Company, from social media, from news I can’t stand to read.

I am hopeful that other Raleigh & Company writers will pick up the torch and continue to write the good stories about Raleigh, and that maybe even more of you would consider writing as well.

People who are stronger than me, at least right now, is what our country needs.

We’re not fine.

The words above first published on November 15, 2016.
Raleigh & Company website no longer exists, but I remember this last story I wrote for it like it was yesterday.

Exactly 3 years and 11 months later, the polls in North Carolina opened for early voting on October 15, 2020.

This was the scene on my street all morning, near one of the early voting sites. People making a statement about how important it is to make their voice heard, as soon as possible, in person.

Cars lined up, people waiting patiently along the park paths, absolutely EVERYONE wearing a mask. And the same scene is playing out across the country.

2020 has been everything but sweet.

But maybe we will be fine.