Saturday, November 19, 2016

Election Blues

For the first time since starting this blog, I've run into a mental wall. I've been wanting to write about my reaction to the election since I woke up to a text saying, "How can this be?????"

But I start to plan my words, and they get stuck.  but, but, but, but, but.... why?????

For the last ten days, I've been obsessively scouring the web for commentary, for articles, for anything to help me understand why 47% of the voters of this country would choose a man who raises the hackles on the back of my neck.

I feel like I'm stuck in one of those dreams where you can see the danger, and you're screaming it to the world, but the world can't hear you.  danger, Danger, DANGER!!!!

He is the embodiment of the type of man I fear.

I can't say I was entirely surprised to find he had won the day. My gut knew he might, though my heart and head didn't want to believe it. I'd even voted Republican in the primary because I was so worried about the possibility - for Kasich, who seemed the best of the bunch. (It was the first time I'd voted a Republican primary ticket.)

As election season wore on, I made it a point to talk to his supporters when chance allowed. I wanted to try to figure out what made them willing to vote for him despite the way he treats women, minorities, his sub-contractors. The answers I got didn't make sense to me - the gist of what I heard is that they were tired of government as it was, and he, as an outsider, would shake things up.

Well, shaken things are.

My heart, for one. If 9/11 was a one-two sucker punch to the gut, this election is a right cross to the jaw. Reading about his first cabinet picks, I feel much as I did the afternoon after the planes crashed into the towers. My world has changed, and changed towards the dark.

I see a path where innocent people are hounded and marginalized, where women's voices are silenced. Where bullying is acceptable; a step backward to a world where it's acceptable to not acknowledge all people are people.

If I can find a positive in this farce, it is this: Racism, xenophobia, misogyny have grown like a cancer beneath the veneer of our society. Lethal, spreading unremarked beneath a cordial surface of code words. Trump stripped away the surface layer, exposing the marauding cells to the light - and they have swarmed to the opening.

Cancer exposed is cancer that can be treated.

I am still afraid. very afraid.

In my fear, since my words won't come, I'm relying on the words of others. I've been going back to the words of one wiser than I, who endured much, who lived anyways:

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.” 
― Viktor E. Frankl

I can choose.
I can't cure this cancer of belittlement and hatred, but I can be kind.
I can't change the world, but I can work on loving those in my little portion.
I can't eliminate the ugly, but I can work on behalf of beauty. I can pick up trash in the park,
I can't make it safe (has it ever been?), but I can stand up to injustice when I encounter it.

Be kind anyways.
It's a place to start.

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