Yesterday I voted and I felt hopeful. I smiled, buoyed by participation in democracy. And, like always, I viewed the glass is half full. Yesterday afternoon I felt like I lived in a world I could justify as good, whether or not I agreed with every other person.
Last night it all changed. Last night I furiously googled moving to Canada (as did many others, taking down the Canadian immigration site) and had conversations in my head about how I would tell my parents we’d decided to leave the country. I tried to figure out how to explain this to my daughter. I cried myself to sleep. I’ve never cried over an election in my life. I’m passionate about many issues, but before last night I could find a sliver lining even if things didn’t go the way I wanted (which they didn’t many times). I was an undeniably hopeful and positive (some would say infuriatingly so) person. Today this election may have broken me. Can I put myself back together?
The answer is, honestly, I don’t know. Right now I only see American going backwards. To me the word “Great” now means racism, bigotry, anger, hatefulness, poor treatment of women. We are about to be plunged back in time, all progress wiped away. Some may say that is dramatic. And some may say that is a good thing. (I am not one of those people.) Right now all I see is saying goodbye over the next 4 years to any forward movement (and saying hello to a lot of backward movement) on things like gun control, climate change, civil liberties, freedom of press, tolerance, understanding, women’s rights/mobility, affordable health care and general human decency and respect.
Trump may have won the electoral college (although looks like not the popular vote) but either way American just lost.
And yet, I feel a small spark inside me, a piece that doesn’t want to give up. The rebellious spirit that went dormant from shock last night. Now, hours later it’s peeking out and saying – you just took this too far and I won’t stand for it. I won’t be silent and try to “understand your side” anymore when you give your bigoted, fact-less, ignorant “opinions.” You have a right to say them and I have a right to know you’re a complete idiot for thinking them and tell you that. I have a right to not be silent anymore. You can start to strip away the progress and goodness achieved over the last few decades, but we will get it back. I feel that inside. Can I build on it is the question? Can I turn that spark into a fire? Can others? Can we take back our country in the next two or four years? If others feel the same, that is my silver lining. That will be how I get my glass half full and overflowing again. Maybe I can get there. Maybe I just need some inspiration from books and from people have faced worse and made it through, like these:
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou