Remember Remember the 8th of November

A week ago Tuesday I had a lazy morning. Slept in til 9am, accepted a cup of coffee from my husband, and slowly pulled myself together to go vote.

I wore my pantsuit. My heart leaped as the scantron machine accepted my ballot, and I got misty as the lines outside the polling station stretched down the block. I posted the requisite Facebook photo and walked home.

Tuesday morning I had visions of a country united behind the strength, wisdom, and tenacity of a smart woman. She was a champion for women and children, the environment, families and refugees, LGBTQIA and PoC.

Wednesday morning I met a country divided, one that would rather have an openly xenophobic and misogynistic man leading us towards a bleak and environmentally blighted future.

Devastating.

It was hard to get out of bed for days. To be honest, it’s still hard.

Many of my friends who are people of color were sad but not surprised. “Welcome,” they said to the shocked white folks, welcome to realizing that your country does not have your back the way you thought it did.

Older women have been a comfort. On some deep psychological level I’m probably hoping they’ll wrap me up in their arms and say, “It’ll be okay. I promise.”

But they don’t.

I talk to Jewish women who thought their days of dealing with open anti-Semitism were behind them. “We’ll get through it,” they say. “We got through it before, and we will again.”

A septuagenarian tells me, “No more crying. We’re tough ladies.”

Online there are memes that say, “Today be sad. Tomorrow organize.” Or, “Be sad today, but come January 1st, be vigilant.”

President Obama says, “No matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning.”

But what they absolutely don’t say is, “Everything’s going to be okay.” Because it won’t.

The joyful banners are gone. The imagined world with a Madame President who champions the weakest and most vulnerable among us has slipped away. In its place is a regime, dominated by a bullying demagogue and his old-school friends trying to keep things good for the rich and the white.

Still, I think that good can be done by imperfect and evil men (and women). I truly hope that good happens in the course of the administration. But that hope is based in probability. I mean, someone can’t be horrible ALL the time, right? Maybe that’s naïve too.

I’ve always been a nearly pathologically cheerful person. Sometimes I worry that it means I’m not truly experiencing my emotions (although I’m sure my husband would disagree). Now I’m realizing there’s a difference between a cheerful outlook and cheerful disposition.

My outlook may no longer be cheerful, but I need to be able to function if I want to affect change. I won’t make the world a better place for anyone if I stay in bed all day (except my cats. They would think that was awesome.) There’s a lot of work to do. And there’s joy to be found and peace to be earned.

Actions I’m Taking

Monthly Donations:

Southern Poverty Law Center

Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas

Earth Justice

Environmental Defense Fund

Doctors Without Borders

Local Activism

Attending a community meeting with Brad Lander, NYC council member called “Get Organized: Preparing to resist threats to our ideals”

Volunteering

Still looking into opportunities (there are many) to help with writing, literacy, and college preparation

Final Thoughts on Life & Craft

To say writers aren’t educators is as naïve as saying we aren’t political. There will always be a worldview and a value system reflected in what we write. Story and representation will become more and more important in the next four years as we fight against an administration whose proposed policies tell many of us that we don’t matter, that our rights are negotiable. And we will fight.

As seen on a protestor’s sign:“No longer do I accept what I cannot change. I change what I cannot accept.”

Thoughts? Comment below!

 

Stephanie Trumbull