For weeks, I’ve been struggling with this question of how do we move on after the election. Nothing got posted here because nothing got written. So many people I love and respect felt marginalized, invalidated, and even threatened by this race; I couldn’t think of what to say to them, couldn’t quite figure out how everyone moves on.
As it turns out, it’s a good thing I didn’t post before the election. Had I written the post when I first started thinking about it, I’d have written it assuming we were about to elect the first woman president of the United States. I’d have talked about that milestone, my hope for our future, my faith that we were ushering in a more inclusive, more egalitarian age.
But that didn’t happen, and it’s a different world today. I cried my way through election night. I’ve been easily brought to tears, heartsick and stunned ever since. While I believe there are some good people who voted for Donald Trump, I also believe they were willing to overlook in their candidate things I am simply unable to overlook. Worse, I believe they voted for a man who has uncovered and stirred up something ugly in American society, something very base and scary. I think far too many people – and yes, they are deplorable – have been emboldened by the idea that kindness and respect are just so much political correctness, and now they are free to say and do what they want. I fear for the people who will be the targets of their newfound freedom, many of whom are people I love dearly.
So now, three days past the election, the question of how we move on feels more urgent, more personally imperative. I’ve wrestled with the part of me that wants to hole up, take refuge, cry-grieve-yoga-meditate my way through it, but honestly, that’s privilege talking. I can do that; others can’t. With all my heart, I want to stand with them.
Yesterday, a friend told me not to let what I can’t do get in the way of what I can do, and I believe that’s where the answer of “how do we move on” lies. I’ve started a list of things I can do, and I’m determined to do something every day… every day, for the next four years. I believe I’ve been guilty of complacency, because I’m white and middle class and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where you can feel the economy rebounding. But, among the many things this election has been, the most important is that it’s a wake up call, and I intend to answer it.
Here’s my list, which I’ll be adding to. I’m sharing it in case there is anything helpful to any of you. If you have more suggestions, I’d love to hear from you. Hit the Contact Me button and send me a note, or friend me on Facebook.
- Donate time and/or money to pro-women, pro-immigrant, pro-earth, anti-bigotry organizations, who will need our help now more than ever. I want to be a more effective ally. I’ll start with this list from Jezebel.
- Join grassroots efforts. I’ve started a monthly contribution to Everytown for Gun Safety because, on a national level, we’ve been utterly unable to move forward with sensible gun laws. That will only be more true now on a whole host of issues that are important to me, so I will look for grassroots organizations who are advancing the progressive causes I believe in.
- Get out of my bubble. It has become obvious to me that being a progressive in the Bay Area has made me deaf to the concerns of much of the country. I don’t have to agree with their conclusions, but I need to make more of an effort to hear the concerns of people who live outside of my demographic.
- Cultivate community. At the same time, I want to band together with the like minded to affect change where we can, and to support each other. During the election, I visited Pantsuit Nation many times a day, for positivity, reassurance, and support. I was so grateful for that space. I want to create (or be enfolded into) more groups like that, loving, smart, and unstoppable.
- Choose love. Now more than ever, I need to choose love, even when it’s scary, even when I’m uncertain, even when it feels like no one understands… because sometimes choosing love is like that.
- Be a proud, unapologetic, unflinching, unstoppable feminist.
- Be an artist – because art heals, because the world needs more beauty and truth, because art is how I pray.
- Be kind. I saw a meme that said “Make America Kind Again.” Yeah, it’s like that.
- Be a badass. Choosing love and being kind is not the same as being meek or agreeable or quiet. I plan to be fierce, to call bullshit on hate, to be a voice for equality and justice, and a warrior for love.
This is how we move forward, I think, by being hopeful, loving… and fierce.
p.s. Here’s a sketchbook doodle I started in the days before the election and finished on Tuesday night. I call it my Love And Beauty doodle. ♥