This morning, I woke up to so much sadness and shock and dismay all over social media that Yes, this is really happening. A reality TV show star, completely unqualified for the position in too many ways to count, will actually be sworn in as President of the United States of America.
I am not one to share every bit of outrageous news that I see on Facebook. I rarely share political items. In this political environment, If I posted every time I was upset or scared or angry or outraged, I would be posting ten to fifteen times a day. (Side note: I respect the right to speak out, but I fear the deluge of shared content contributes to overwhelm, desensitization, and normalization of the outrageous things happening in our world.) As a dear friend of mine said recently while discussing feeling inundated by the constant flood of information,
“I feel like I (we) are in a huge sandstorm, and the source of the storm is the turbulent funnel within. I do better focusing on the funnel rather than all of the sand, if that makes sense.”
Honestly, I am not shocked or depressed anymore. Am I happy about him being president? No. Am I still appalled at everything he has said? Yes. Is my reaction to this president different than it would have been for any other Republican winner? Most definitely.
But there is hope for those all over America (and the world) who are hurt, scared, and angry today. Because while half of America supported a completely unqualified presidential candidate, we can take solace in the fact that half of us see what is happening, see that this is not normal, see that this is a powerful, frightening, and treacherous moment in our nation’s history. We are right to be paying attention.
I am confident now in the fact that half of America is going to stop being injured and reactionary. We will calm down and organize and act with thoughtful intent. We will be vigilant and we will be agents of change. We will not sit by quietly. Voices will be raised in protest and in concern. This gives me comfort. If I am scared, it is because I think we may be heading into a second wave civil rights era, and it will be painful and I hope not, but it may be violent; In the end, it will result in progress.
When I am fearful, lost, or confused, I look to nature. Change is not always linear. Change in the natural world is often waxing and waning in nature. I am now looking at this experience of seemingly moving backward, and the inevitable future of our country moving forward, as part of a natural process of change. We achieved amazing feats in the last 8 years: Our first African-American president and legalized gay marriage in my beautiful and dark home state of Georgia are things that I honestly never believed that I would see in my lifetime. I am now viewing the rise of Trump as part of the unavoidable backlash from a crumbling old guard in response to the devastating blows we as a people delivered to their revered institutions of insularity, bigotry, and racism.
Any walls our current government put up or progress rolled back will be met in the years to come with positive change tenfold. Nature is ebb and flow. The waters of change are receding from the beach right now; They will crash upon the beach once again. Just keep your heads above water. Everything will be okay.
Addendum: Tiller and I, and an overwhelming number of our friends, are marching tomorrow in The Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women. I feel it’s likely that I will write about that experience, as I’ve never marched or protested in anything on such a large scale before, and it is not lost on me that doing so with my daughter is heavy with meaning. I’m documenting it here so that she can read this one day and know that I thought participating in the march was truly important and weighty and something that I wanted her to understand and share with me. (More info here.)