Where to Now?

road
The ever-winding road

Like so many in the wake of the presidential election, as an American, a liberal, and a democrat, I am left to wonder what I should do now. I have an almost overwhelming need to do something, but I am not yet certain what that will look like or how it will manifest.

The irony of this situation is that I have been rudderless the last several years. I have poked around and done different things. Many of these pursuits have been passing interests that have sputtered into nothing at all; others have been gigantic shipwrecks that I am still trying to avoid drowning from (and succeeding at for the most part).

To have a direction, a goal, is something I have searched for, and longed for, since becoming a stay at home mom. Though raising a human being is, arguably, one of the most important jobs in the entirety of history and the world, I (most ashamedly on certain days), wanted something a little different, something that I felt had a direct impact on the world, rather than a secondary impact based on how well I raised my child (though that too is important, obviously).

I wanted to have my cake and eat it too… and as most people with similar situations, I never did much about it.

And then the election. Before the election I would have avoided speaking about my political and ideological views. The flagship of my stance was my avoidance in telling people who I supported in the election and why; however, since the election, I have realized that my voice, though limited to those few I know and the few readers I have here, is a powerful one, and by not speaking up, there is a possibility that I had a hand (no matter how small) in our current political (national) situation.

Therefor *deep breath*:

I support Hillary Clinton.

Not only am I #withher, but I am #stillwithher.

I doubt very much that she will ever again be as central in politics as she was these last two years, but what she does and what she has done, continues to inspire me.

She fights.

When the going is incredibly tough and bordering on impossible, she continued(s) to fight. I know the tiredness that stems from being a woman in a male-centric world. A week ago, I would have never talked about the sexism that I have known and seen my whole life… put on a happy face, understand there is progress etc…. but I am done with that way of approaching this world.

I am done with being a people-pleaser.

Because, I AM exhausted.

I am so tired of fighting against social norms and expectations, but, because we as a nation and world are nowhere near where I thought we were in regards to equal rights for women, or African Americans, or Latinos, or *fill in the blank here, you know who you are*… I am going to keep fighting in hopes that one day I can stop being tired.

Because if Hillary can continue fighting, then, damnit, so can I.

The Yellow Brick Road

But what does that look like?

Therein lies that most important question.

Do I start speaking out? Do I start posting things on my twitter? Do I go back to facebook (after a year away) and start engaging with others… including those whose views are, at times, violently opposed to mine?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am beyond scared to stir the pot. I have read the stories of doxing and that shit is terrifying. I have a young son! The  mama instinct in me roars at the thought that my political viewpoints, or social viewpoints, will be expressed at the expense of my son’s safety.

And then I hear what I am saying (or read what I am typing in this case), and I am horrified. Sickened. Disgusted.

Why?

Because the very fact that I am scared to voice an opinion because of the possibility of a negative fallout is the exact opposite of the very ideology that created this country.

In other words: unacceptable.

Because my message is simple: all humans matter and love trumps hate.

That kind of message shouldn’t cause violence or stalking or internet trolls, but it does… as I am sure you all are aware. Of course, deciding to come out of the shadows is not really doing anything… yet, but it is a first step towards something.

Where do I go from here, then?

I have fluttered on and off of the idea of going back to journalism, in a grassroots way at least. I am a news junky, so perhaps I could take what I am reading, analyze it and put it in historical perspectives. I don’t know if that will make any difference in changing people’s minds towards inclusiveness and understanding, but maybe it will?

Of course, I realize that kind of blogging is hardly be popular.

I know, through interacting with online blogs for awhile, that most people want messages of hope… they want to feel good after reading a post.The uplifting stuff gets clicks, ask any blogger out there. The negative is largely ignored.

Unfortunately, sometimes that feel good moment is at the expense of thinking.

(Ouch. That was hard to write… still haven’t gotten rid of the “I don’t want to offend people stigma yet.”)

So, if I was to follow a path of journalism in the way that I am imagining it, likely, I will lose a few of you in the process, but maybe I will gain a few more. I honestly don’t know. I DO know I want to do something to promote critical thinking, thereby leading (as it always has and will), to acceptance and understanding. That is the direction I want to help our country move towards (after being shown we have such a very far way to go).

The next step is figuring out how my contribution will look.

What about you, dear readers? Do you find yourself called to action, and if so, in what way? How are you doing it? What is your reality like now?

And if not a call to action, what is your reaction to this post 11/9 world?

What are your thoughts?

All in Black

inmourning
In mourning

I have spent this week mourning.

My husband does not understand. Though he is not in anyway, shape or form a Trump supporter, he is a political historian and economist. He sees this week’s election in the terms of politics and the market; neither of which are much to comment on. A Republican (albeit a faaar right one) is now in office. There is a peaceful transfer of power underway. The market recovered after it’s initial 700 point dive.

These are the things he responds and reacts to, and, as such, wonders why I have been in constant tears over the last four days.

The grief was/is real. I did not sleep Tuesday night. I spent most of Wednesday crying. Thursday was a little better. Today I have only cried twice.

My husband asked me why, truly puzzled. I could only shrug, because you see,  at first, I just knew that I grieved. I grieved for my country, feeling a deep sense of despondency, a sadness so big and so gigantic that I could not find words to describe the depth and breadth of my hurting.

Wednesday felt the worst. Dark and bleak. The rain incessantly fell on the car windshield as I sat sobbing out front of my house, talking to my grandmother, begging her to tell me that these things pass, that this is not the first of the United State’s mistakes and we have emerged before, and we will again.

She told me that this was true, citing those traumas she had lived through.

She tried to comfort me.

I could not be comforted. I railed against Republicans. I was so filled with anger at the people who seemed to have voted for racism, sexism, bigotry, homophobia, xenophobia, and kicking the wheelchair of children with cerebral palsy (an affliction my brother struggles to live with).

They voted for someone who admitted to being a sexual predator! And many because they just “didn’t like Hillary.” I was so angry. I could not even look on the face of my best friend’s husband because he voted for Trump. He disgusted me.

I KNEW, I knew I was being irrational and ignorant. I KNEW it was/is not that black and white. And underneath the anger, I felt kernels of shame, because I knew that half of the population who voted for Trump were not so simply defined by the message that Trump spouted from his pulpit.

And as Wednesday moved to Thursday, I started to emerge from the anger. I started to think a little more clearly, and I slowly started to wonder if maybe, just maybe this might be a good thing, healthy for our country. Maybe because we now see what is wrong, what is out there, what is actually going on, we can start to address those things.

My husband calls the election results the impact of geoeconomical downturn; I think he is right. And I get it, I really do. I have lived in those towns decimated by jobs being shipped overseas. I have seen the meth addiction (though I moved away before seeing the opioid one). I have known those people who carry a feeling of hopelessness about them… who believe that no-one cares about them… who believe that they are getting the shaft.

And largely, they have a point.

The media didn’t care, or didn’t realize. I didn’t care. Most of the democrat party didn’t care or didn’t realize.

… but we do now.

And I hope, intellectually, that by having these people’s plights highlighted for all the world to see, that they will be helped, their lives will be made better, and in doing so, their fear and hatred of The Other (the seed of all racism, bigotry, sexism etc.), will disappear with understanding, education and exposure.

This is where I am intellectually: Hopeful tinged with a touch of pessimism.

 

But.

But. My heart hurts. The tears roll down my face. I worry about all those minorities that I both know and don’t know. I read about the hatred that is being found in schools, SCHOOLS for heaven’s sake, and I just can’t even comprehend the totality of what has happened.

I grieve.

And that brings me to today.

At first, I didn’t understand what I was grieving about. Was I grieving for humanity? For the protection of our planet? For our future as a country?

All of those things are worthy of grief, yes, but in reality, I realized today that I am grieving the loss of an illusion.

You see, dear readers, I thought we were so much farther along. I thought we were a nation moving in progressive ways. I thought we were more open then ever to homosexuality; and we were at least having conversations about Black Lives and police brutality.

In my circles and in the media it seemed that we understood that Muslim does not equal terrorist, and Latino is a rich, vibrant culture to be celebrated and welcomed.

I thought the entirety of our nation, when putting aside politics and religion, was progressing, learning kindness and acceptance, or at least having conversations that would lead to those outcomes.

I was wrong. So incredibly, terribly, horribly wrong because we are not there yet, and we might not be for a long time.

And that is why I grieve.

I grieve for a nation that hasn’t made it to that place, and I grieve because my thinking it had was all smoke and mirrors.

I grieve for a nation that was of my own imagination.

Because, you see, I thought they were a basket of deplorables. I thought it was a handful of people at Trump rallies.

I was so wrong. Ignorantly wrong. Arrogantly wrong.

And I grieve for my loss.

*

I could end this post there, leaving it with grief, but we move forward because what else can we do, and it is what we SHOULD do.

Moving forward, we will try to protect those who are in the line of fire; try to protect our Earth; try to protect the inalienable rights of EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING.

And hopefully, we will try to figure out what to do for those who voted for Trump.

Friends, the problem and the solution is so vast and so multileveled, that I don’t even know if it can be fixed. I look at my country and I see so much work to be done. Is it possible to change the geoeconomical forecast for those who overwhelmingly voted for Trump? I don’t know. We live in a global world, and anyone telling you otherwise is lying to you. Those manufacturing jobs are not coming back. It doesn’t matter how many tariffs you put on China. There is always India.

And there might be a resurgence of mining jobs etc., maybe even a small boom in those West Virginia and Kentucky towns… until there isn’t because there isn’t anything more to dig up (or, policy puts a stop on fossil fuels under another president in the future).

Change has already started, is already changing the landscape of all. And not Brexit or Trump is going to be able to stop globalization or the “fall of the white man.”

And IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A FALL.

We, ALL OF US, must redefine how we live in this world and how we fit into it; and that includes those who voted for Trump. There is a plight. Absolutely. There is terrible fissures in our country. People need help. And just as I will work to protect and help those affected by Trump and his followers, I will work to protect and help the followers too. Because, my illusion wants to become reality, and I want it to become reality.

We are humans in this together. I want that future and I will work hard and tirelessly towards trying to make that future exist.

But not yet.

Tomorrow I will let go of the anger and hurt and disgust.

Today, I am still crying.