It's the end of the inauguration weekend, the end of a few days of emotional turmoil and public upheaval. In my area alone, there were over 100,000 people rallying and protesting, and many more I know who are concerned for the future of our country. I am too.
We are concerned for our identity, for the effects that discrimination will have on our society. We are concerned for our education, for the futures of the children under schools dominated by test scores and statistics. We are concerned for our reputation, for the respect that we may or may not receive from the world around us for the decisions that we make.
I, too, am concerned for our country. But I am not afraid for the future.
And here's why – Our country is made up of people. Not policies.
It’s people, not policies, who, every day, decide what the future of America will be like.
It’s people, not policies, who decide to treat others with kindness despite any physical, mental or moral differences.
It’s people, not policies, who teach the children of this nation how to respect those in authority, how to interact with different cultures, and how to be a good citizen of our country.
It’s people, not policies, who choose to be welcoming to foreigners, providing hospitality to those who have been displaced, and who work to make this new place their home.
And all of this continues no matter who is in office.
Our actions are not defined by the people or policies in place over us. We can choose to be kind to those whom we come into contact with. We can choose to be respectful in a society that demands that every difference be looked upon with scorn.
And most importantly, we can choose to not be afraid of the future because we are not defined by our past. Instead, we can learn from it, and together make this country a better place to live. We do that. Not policies.