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What now?

The world woke up this morning to some seriously disturbing news. Yeah, that’s right, I’m going to get political here.

silver-platter
Serving... by kleuske

How on earth could the American people elect that man to be president? How could they give him the Senate and the House and the Supreme Court on a silver platter? What insane license have we just handed him? This man who believes only beautiful, large-breasted women are valuable. This man who believes it’s okay to “grab ’em by the pussy” because he’s famous. This man who believes all Mexicans are rapists. This man who wants to ban all Muslims from the United States. This man who believes all African Americans live in squalor. This billionaire who hasn’t paid taxes in God knows how long. This man who uses his philanthropy to pay off legal fees and purchase life-sized portraits of himself. This man who thinks Russia has a great president.

I’m scared for the United States. I’m scared for the world. The world is scared, too. In the wake of the results coming in, we are seeing stock markets and the value of the American dollar fall. Reports are coming from all over the world of people in total disbelief. At the international school where I teach, there is an odd quiet today. People don’t quite know what to say. There have been lots of hugs and condolences.

I’m struggling to figure out where to go from here, how to move on. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m disappointed. I’m scared. I’m glad I don’t live in the US. I’m tired of explaining the US.  I’m tired of apologizing for the US. At the same time, I believe so strongly in America: in the optimism and hope inherent in our system, in the opportunities afforded to people, in our diversity, in our innovative and adventurous spirit, in the natural beauty we have protected through our National Park system, in our Constitution which guarantees freedom of religion and speech.

candle-by-the-bees
Candle by The Bees

I went to bed filled with optimism last night after reading post after post from the Facebook group “Pantsuit Nation”. A friend of mine posted “There are good people out there. Really good people.” And this keeps me going. I remember having these same feelings of doom after 9/11, but also know that as a country we healed and recovered and eventually many of us came out of it as kinder, more compassionate people.

So, as I way of healing, as a way of reminding myself that we are not doomed, I share some of the lovely things I’ve read and seen today.

From Amanda in Colorado: “Today I am remembering the weeks following the 9/11 attack. While CNN looped horrific video […] the people of Colorado responded with a strange and wonderful gentleness toward one another. Nobody honked their horns in annoyance, voices in shops and on hiking trails were hushed and kind, and total strangers struck up conversations about nothing at all, simply to connect with other human beings and to say without words: yes, this thing happened, but it will not define us. It cannot and will not dictate how we treat each other in this moment or in the future.”

From Lauren via Pantsuit Nation: “On the bus ride home, I was watching Hillary’s concession speech, and outright sobbing. A woman came up and hugged me. A man came up and gave me a pack of tissues. This was not my proudest moment, but I was overcome with gratitude at the kindness of strangers.

While I may feel as despondent as I ever have, under my unbelievable sadness, I still believe in America and our movement.

Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize.”

From Anu via Pantsuit Nation: “I’m an immigrant who has spent the last 11 years of my life here living legally, working hard, paying my taxes and raising my two young children. This country has given me everything and I’m so grateful for it. I have never had the freedom to dream and achieve much in my birth country.”

From Maria in Colorado: “Now it’s out in the open. The intense separation, dissatisfaction, hatred, misogyny , racism, fear- fear of all who do not reflect the small, contracted perception of self that most humans possess.

While devastating in so many ways I believe this is ultimately good. For in order to truly change, to refine, to HEAL, to become WHOLE what is hidden must be seen. Just as the splinter must be removed for the physical body to heal itself, so too the body politic. If it’s in there -and we now see how much is actually in there- it must come out for wholeness to return.”

From Hillary Clinton, herself:

Disgusted with the bad news last spring, I started a page sharing good news called We are the (S)Heroes. I let it go, mostly out of laziness, but know now that I need to start this up again. There are amazing people out there doing great things. We will rise out of this. We will more than survive. I am hopeful that we will emerge from this kinder, stronger, more compassionate.

______________________________________

Thank you flickr and Creative Commons for the images:

Featured image: Losing my religion by Stefano Corso

Serving by kleuske

Candle by The Bees

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