Release of a Butterfly or Post Election


Today the results of our national election came out. Biden has won the electoral college. He has won the popular vote. It felt like people were holding their breath, waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop. I was expecting anarchy as the Orange Man threw another tantrum and people voted for Anti-Socialism as their top concern over the possibility of what Democrats could bring. It was a week wrought with sleeplessness, anxiety, and sadness in seeing how my fellow Americans voted.

It was the relived trauma of going to a racist place to work on a day that Racism, Xenophobia, Islamophobia, and Sexism won in 2016.

Despite the stress on a national level, there was a flutter of hope. I breathed deeply. I felt gratitude for my fellow citizens who have organized, mobilized and held the line for the rest of us for the past 4 years.

Specifically the fluttering of a newly hatched butterfly.

Today we released pink lady butterflies. After a week of worrying about the suddenly cold weather, and regretting getting the butterflies so late in the season, I prayed for some respite for these fragile creatures in my care. Butterflies, like democracy, like children are an amana, a trust from God. As they grew from little caterpillars to big fat caterpillars to butterflies, I was struck by how quickly things changed. Each day there were surprises. My little bugs loved romaine lettuce. They didn’t like maple leaves. They didn’t exercise on the twigs we brought back from our nature walks. They were not what we expected.

My daughter sang songs to her pet caterpillars.

My children showed off their caterpillars to anyone who came over.

It wasn’t all good. Our caterpillar survival rate was 50%. Sometimes you do everything, and things just don’t work out. One caterpillar tried to make his chrysalis but was just hanging upside down for days without moving. Another looked like it had broken in half. And one never emerged from under a leaf. Life is fragile. It is not in our little hands.

We should name her American Democracy but that’s too much for a 5 year old.

I hope my children learn how extraordinary it is to be alive. To soak up the sun and fly, and to care for our shared creation. Similarly I think politics is ultimately about caring for people who share our geographic space. We have lost our way in American and we can do better to Make America Great … Again.

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