Can you choose Respect?

Some would say that I'm addicted to talk radio. I would admit that I love having Sirius radio in my car. This week, however, I had to turn the radio off. I couldn't even switch to a music station. There was too much on my mind to process. Along with a headache, I actually became sick to my stomach.

I am so sad. I cannot believe that our politicians, the people that we have elected have resorted to name calling, conspiracy theories and even lying. I am heartsick to hear people that have pledged to work for the people are really only looking out for a small interest groups or even just themselves. Most of all, I feel disappointed that I - and all of us - have allowed hatred and bigotry to pull friends and this nation apart.

There are some obvious "scapegoats" - people that we feel justified in blaming. Let's be honest - our leaders are not people that I want my children and grandchildren to emulate or even people that I want to meet or invite to my home. Many are hate mongers and people who will justify their own actions by blaming someone else. No one seems to take responsibility for themselves and their actions.

I must admit, however, that I struggle to accept and see the "other side" - the opinions that are not my own. I struggle to see how one can blame another for "not coming forward with an accusation" right away. I struggle to understand how someone can blame a person because they were sexually assaulted - as if they asked for it! I do not understand why the person with the loudest voice is heard and believed and the quiet, dignified person is considered weak.

Do others not understand trauma? Do they not understand fear? Do they not understand what it is like to feel unworthy or threatened? Probably not. Maybe I would not as well if I didn't sit in an office that is considered a safe place - a place where whatever someone says will be accepted and believed, a place where empathy and openness exist, a place where all can be heard.

Perhaps it is one of my jobs to educate others - to explain empathy and respect. Perhaps I need to speak up for and along with others who find it difficult to use their voice. Perhaps that is everyone's job. Meanwhile, I will continue to empower, uplift and support those who find it difficult to do so themselves. I will continue to do this in spite of those who speak louder and bully others. I will listen and work to see other opinions even when I do not understand. I choose RESPECT.

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