Time for understanding

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I am filled with sadness today. But I’m am also hopeful.

Today, when we drove away from my daughter’s daycare my partner and I both had to pause and question our decision to leave our daughter at a school she loves. A school that cares for her and includes her. A school that could very well be the next target of a bomb threat. A fear only fueled by recent comments from our President, a man who suggested that the continued bomb threats may be an effort to “make others look bad.”

If you support Trump, maybe you can help me. Maybe you can explain how I, as a mom, am supposed to believe that a leader capable of making this claim represents my family? Can you convince me that this individual protects the values, livelihood, and safety of my family?

My partner works for a non-profit that supports families embarking on the perinatal adventure, through childbirth and parenting support and education. He is currently employed under a grant and works every day to connect low-income dads with the tools they need to be successful. In public health terms, he helps to implement a program that will reduce the risk of many adverse childhood outcomes, through paternal support. Programs like these have tangible outcomes. Yet, the grant program behind his work is pegged to be cut in 2018. If you support Trump, maybe you can help me figure that one out, too.

I am privileged to work with passionate educators every day. Teachers working to ensure all children regardless of race, ability, religion, and gender, are included. Teachers who are, rightfully, concerned about how educational vouchers will truly impact access to education and the treatment of individuals with disabilities. If you support Trump, do you mind talking me through that one, too? Perhaps we can chat about the finer points of what ACCESS means because that seems to be missing from today’s discourse.

If you know me, you know that I am a hardcore breastfeeding advocate. Now, I’m watching many of the recent leaps and bounds, ushered along by the ACA, protecting lactating parents, are crumbling away. Without those protections, breastfeeding gets a little more difficult again, particularly for working parents. Breastfeeding is about the lowest hanging fruit you can find in terms of improving health outcomes. If you support Trump— can help me reason this loss?

With all that said, I’m sure that me yelling about research and human rights and breastfeeding is going to change your viewpoints about as much as you chanting about borders and military spending is going to change mine. So, I’m not going do that.

Instead, let’s have a conversation. Let’s talk about the evidence. On the way, I will choose to look past your xenophobic behavior, your racism, your homophobic comments, and your sexism attributing them not to malintent, but to BLIND SPOTS. Gaping, terrible blind spots. Blind spots that disproportionately affect people of color, religious minorities, individuals with disabilities, my friends in the LGBTQ+ community, and my daughter’s friends at daycare. Because I truly believe that very few of us wake up the morning with the goal of doing harm.

But we ALL wake up every morning with a lot to learn.

I’ll look past that all, in interest of growth. I do this because I believe in effective collaboration and communication. I do this because I don’t pretend to know where you are coming from or that I understand your concerns. And I don’t want to stop a conversation just because we have (wildly) contradicting viewpoints or because our values fall in different buckets.

You are my friends. You are my family. You are people that I have known my whole life. You are people who told me to not pick my nose when I was a kid and who taught me how to French braid. You came to my school plays and you loved me. I’m willing to listen to you. I only ask that you also hear my concerns along the way.

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