The day after...

I q-dropped PoliSci. Twice. I just didn't really have any desire to understand how government works when I could be doing more important things like figuring out how to win Derby Days. 

But while my understanding of our complex government may have taken years to comprehend, I have never misunderstood the magnitude of the meaning of democracy, the privilege I hold as an American*, and the importance of leadership in the pursuit of our liberty. 

*It took me longer than I'd like to admit to understand my privilege as a white American.

I grew up believing what the adults around me believed. I remember being so sad when George H.W. Bush wasn't reelected but also not fully recognizing why I was or should be sad. As a 6th grader I had other things to worry about like the growing zit on my nose and the fact that I had an inappropriate crush on our PE student teacher. 

I also remember the letter. You know the one. The one that a great leader wrote to his successor. The letter that took courage, humility, and honor to write. The letter that put others before himself. The letter that focused on the betterment of the people through the example he set. The letter that has become a tradition in an office that should represent all that is great about this country. And while it may not have been a long standing tradition, it was an important one. A powerful one. The notion that a nation could transition between leaders, ideals, passions and visions with mutual respect is something to be proud of as Americans. 

Humility in leadership is one of the most important characteristics a person should exhibit. Knowing when to lead and when to ask for help and better yet, when to admit that you just aren't the best person for a job can determine the legacy you leave. I've spent my career trying to teach that to young adults that will one day rise to lead our classrooms, businesses, hospitals, universities and this great country. I have witnessed them ask for help, seek outside perspectives and continue to grow knowing that they never stop learning, they never know everything. 

But yesterday, we witnessed the opposite of humility. We watched as the leader of our country exhibited such selfishness and greed that he knowingly put our entire country at risk. A hunger for power at all costs. What we witnessed yesterday was not patriotism. It was white supremacy. Insurrection. Treason. Terrorism. In my opinion, an attack that was more harmful than 9/11. These men and women didn't represent outsiders trying to take down the American way, they walked in our nations capitol holding American flags, claiming to represent the ideals of our nation and attempted to destroy almost 250 years of democracy. 

This didn't happen overnight. We watched the fall in slow motion with every lie from his mouth and horrific rhetoric on Twitter. And we won't be able to fix it overnight. Things won't magically change on January 20. It will take more work to undo the harm than it took to create it. 

And while my hope rests in Jesus, the work rests in US.

You and me. The way we speak to each other. The way we help our neighbors. The way we stand up against racism in real time with real actions and not just through a like or share on social media. We have hard conversations with our children. We create space for respectful discourse. We are open to questions and are prepared with answers. We quit blaming the media and start taking ownership ourselves. We do not turn a blind eye to obvious hate. We quit buying into ridiculous conspiracy theories. We acknowledge the injustice of systemic racism and we work to change it. 

We start with me to make it better for we. We each work to become humble, courageous leaders in our homes and communities. That's what I'm telling my kids today... the day after we witnessed us at our worst. There is still hope for us to become our best. 

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