There are three recurring themes in my life right now:

The election
Women in society
Disney's Tangled

Yes, Tangled. Any parent of a toddler girl can attest, fairytale Disney movies can consume all aspects of life. We sing the songs, listen to the songs in the car, buy the toys, watch the movie over, and over, and over again... 
Fortunately, the movie is quite delightful and I do not mind it, especially because it provides some empowering messages to my child. 

Last week, I listened to a podcast (as I frequently do when I workout at the gym) about Women. That seems like such a broad topic, how could they hone it down into an hour and a half single podcast? The hosts had a variety of friends and family join them and share their experiences of womanhood in America. Some specifically in the church, but even those stories reflected what transpires in the daily lives of Christian, other faiths, and non-religious females. One particular part that tore at my heart was when a guest eloquently spoke a poetic recount of her life in the female form, from birth to present- how she once ran naked and free in her body, loved, unashamed, perfect... and as she grew older, words of shame, angst, and male advantage took over her story. This is, unfortunately, a common narrative in (and dare I say) the majority of women in America. 
Not even three days after listening to the podcast, as I am still processing and mentally relishing in it, my Facebook feed and television were blowing up with leaked audio of Donald Trump. He was boasting his celebrity, and how that provides him a free pass to make advances on women without consent. He was speaking on the things that I literally had listened to days before: men taking advantage of women, belittling women, sexually abusing women... I was obviously disgusted by this, but not surprised at who it was coming from. He later, "Apologized," for his words, passing them as, "Locker room talk."

Now I feel like I must say before I go further: I am NOT for/against Donald Trump OR Hillary Clinton. 

While at the gym this morning, I walked into a conversation in, ironically, the locker room. Two female Trump supporters were having a conversation...
Gal 1: "Did you watch the debate Sunday night?"
Gal 2: "No, did you?"
Gal 1: "No. I cannot even stand to look at her. People are just going to be giving me a play by play on my Facebook feed anyway."
Gal 2: "Yes for sure."
Gal 1: "I really just hope something bad happens to Hillary, or something comes out so we can get rid of her."

Whoa. I stopped in my tracks, along with another gym goer, who made eye contact with me as we both mouthed, "Oh my gosh." We ended up having a side convo about natural supplements to absorb the shock about this women's desire to share her hate in a public place. I mean, good for her for having the balls to speak her mind, but dang. It really bit me. 
My mind was swirling with questions:
How, does a woman in suburban Arizona, have such hatred to a woman she has never met, will never meet, and has never done anything to her?  
What could Hillary Clinton have done to cause this woman to wish harm and ill will on her? 
How do these woman side with a political candidate when they do not educate themselves by watching the candidate speak? 

My mind wondered further.
Because I am in ministry, I sometimes find myself imagining what I would say to a stranger if I were in a discipling relationship with them. What would they do if they heard someone say those things about them, their friends, their children? How does God feel about you saying those things about His child? In this circus we call, "An election," the animosity and hatred has grown into a monster we cannot control. We have chosen a Republican candidate for President who is known for shaming women, insulting military families, mocking people with disabilities, and speaks in a manner similar to leaders that spawned communism and world wars. Why have we gone this route we must ask. 

So, back to Tangled. 
The main character, Rapunzel, is kidnapped as an infant because her hair has magical powers of healing and youth. At 18, she finds herself in a circumstance to leave her tower and see the, "Floating lights," that she has seen from her window her entire life. This is her dream. It is so innocent, and she is so naive since she has never left her tower due to the control of her kidnapper. She is taken to a bar where ruffians and thugs retire, and they try to take her guide for reward money. She bravely intervenes and exclaims, " Okay, I don't know where I am and I need him to take me to see the lanterns because I've been dreaming about them my entire life! FIND YOUR HUMANITY! Haven't any of you ever had a dream?" The thugs then break into song about how they all have these sincere, lovely dreams instead of being these smelly, menacing men that do terrible things. 

So, a long story to get to my point...
I feel like we are all of these ruffians... we've been dealt some cruddy cards and we're all going down these hateful, ugly paths. We're doing and saying horrible things because that is who we're siding with. We're there because we're scared and angry. We think that these feelings make us strong. But in all actuality we all have the same dream: peace, love, to see the floating lights. 

When I see women hurting because they've been molested or humiliated by men, and then we have a man running for president who DOES THESE THINGS... When I hear people yearning for bad things to happen to someone simply because they are in the opposite political party... When I am observing this rat race we can the American Election...I just want to hit America over the head and say, FIND YOUR HUMANITY!!!! 

Where is our humanity? Have we forgotten what that is?  Mirriam-Webster defines humanity as, "The quality or state of being kind to other people or to animals/all people." ALL PEOPLE. Not just whites. Not just men. Not just able minds/bodied people. Not just Christians. 

Every. Single. Person.

So what do we do? Honestly, I have no idea. This whole democracy seems to be spiraling into a pit of destruction and despair. The very America that we want to be making great, seems to be imploding. Are you in the same boat as the locker room gals? I'll be the first to admit that I've had negative thoughts about political candidates, said bad things about them, heck, I carved a McCain/Palin pumpkin in '08 (two actually)... 
All I can really think to say is to look at yourself, not others, and see how that is reflecting what you really believe. Do I think Gal 1 at the gym wants physical harm to come to Hillary Clinton? I sure hope not, and I think she would feel remorse or sadness if that actually materialized. How are you reacting to this election? When you see that news feed pop up on your Facebook or newscast, what is your first feeling? Check yourself. People are chattering about the last question of the debate from Karl Becker. It was the final note to an otherwise depressing hour and a half. America latched onto that morsel of positive energy. We need more! 

I pray that we can all get it together as a nation and unite. Whoever we elect, we have to change as a society. We cannot be exuding such violence, hatred, anger... America has never had things 100% right. We are constantly evolving, learning, changing...Let us learn this one sooner rather than later. No matter who becomes our Commander in Chief, we can trust that the Father has us. Let us find our humanity, not just in the election, but all around us. 


Kendall Linderman