A Path Forward

Election 2020- Our Thoughts…

Whew..here we are. The election is (hopefully? mostly?) over. We will have a new President of the United States AND the FIRST WOMAN VICE PRESIDENT- who also happens to be a multi-racial person of color and daughter of immigrants! Awesome. I have all the feels going on right now. Of course, I feel joy. I feel relief. I feel a lightness replacing the exhaustion of the last four years of struggle against leadership that didn’t seem to value the lives of families- both American and those born outside of our borders. That didn’t hold our beliefs that families should be able to seek out a safe place to live when their lives have crumbled around them. And, that as a community and as a country, we have the ability and therefore the responsibility to be a part of this solution. I want to shout joyfully to the rooftops that we are going into the next four years with an administration who has a plan that prioritizes starting to rebuild a robust refugee resettlement program and return to providing a safe home to asylees within the first 100 days in office! (I say “starting” because there was SUBSTANTIAL damage done to these systems and it is going to take long, thoughtful, and creative solutions to rebuild.)

But… however you cut it, the election was tough. It was tough to watch months (more?) of partisan conflict. It was tough to wait a few extra days to know the outcome- especially in a year where we feel like we have been waiting for life to get back to “normal” almost since the year started. It’s tough not to know what the next couple months will be like as challenges to the outcome play their way out in the courts. It is tough to know that our nation is so divided. And most of all, it is tough to know how to come out of this election and the past administration knowing what exactly the path forward TOGETHER will look like.

We are in the process of sending out our End of Year appeal. You will hear more about this in the near future, but I only mention it now because as I was signing some letters, I was also simmering on so many of these election related thoughts while I refreshed the map on my computer every 15 minutes (or was it 15 seconds?!?). I was also taking care to write personal notes to the human being on the other side of that letter and what I recognized was that quite a few times, I was writing a note to someone who has spent much, if not all, of their life voting quite differently than I do. That there are people that may politically align differently than many Soft Landing supporters, but that stood up and stood with us to welcome families seeking refuge into our community. And not just stood by, but actively contributed to our work. It was an incredible reminder for me, and I guess, I wanted all of us to know that. To remember that for so long, refugee resettlement and asylum were supported across aisles and that we still have a chance for this to be the reality again. Along with this, there will be new relationships to form at the state level and it will be important to show the strength and humanity of taking politics out of our country’s commitment to those seeking safety. I am not saying it is easy, or that it will happen quickly. Or that this election doesn’t come with baggage even more complicated than refugee resettlement. I recognize that it comes from a place of privilege in the fact that I have only been at this for 5 years, not a lifetime of a fight trying to prove the worth of my and my loved one’s lives. I’m just saying that I believe we CAN get to a place with less divisive partisanship, and we are going to have to be the ones to reach out our hands, to approach the challenge with kindness and love (always love). That someone you might see as on the opposite side from you, may have common ground. Humans are complicated and so are politics.

I’m so honored to be on this journey with ALL of you and excited for many years of Welcoming in our future.

In love and gratitude,

Mary Poole
ED Soft Landing Missoula