Monday, November 14, 2016

And Then It Hit Me #allweneedislove

Lacey Peters' Early Education Class, New York
It was finally over.  The hate-filled mudslinging from both sides of the election.  It was hard to sit through the presidential debates, listening to both sides sling enough mud on the other to build that wall we kept hearing about.  But even harder for me was sitting through the lies and accusations and seeming hatred flinging past me on social media from my friends to other friends.  Disagree?  Think your side is better?  Then listen to me shout ugly words, post ugly memes, quote others on social media about you and your candidate.  I voted early in order to stop the ugliness in my line of vision.  Somehow this helped.

But then the election happened and it didn't stop.  The ugliness didn't stop.  The lies and memes and quotations didn't stop.  Protests against the election results broke out in major cities.  Portland was the most passionate, it seems.  Yeah, we like to keep things weird.  But it isn't just the unhappy losers spreading...the gloating winners have continued their own brand of ugliness.  Calling out to the Losers...whiners, babies, get over it bitch.  No one can claim gracefully winning or losing.

I was very disappointed with the results.  I had to go to bed early before I saw the final results.  Tummy ache.  Headache.  Sadness.  And I woke up determined to make the best of it.  I declared the day "Positive Energy Day" and made a quilt for someone out there who is cold and alone.  I kept saying, "Okay.  Our job is to continue to be a voice for the voiceless, continue to stand up for social justice, for safety for all."  I reminded people that these have always been our jobs, our responsibility.  We don't have the luxury to sit back on our laurels; we must be vigilant.  I tried to send out a positive message--I am pollyanna, after all.  I told people that we can survive anything because there are safeguards in place throughout the government.  Worry wasn't healthy.  I felt like I wasn't perhaps grieving properly when I talked with Clinton supporters and tried to ignore any politics with everyone, with Trump supporters.

My grandchild woke up sobbing the night of the election because Trump won.  He--he prefers the he/him pronoun--is struggling to find his place in the world, in his body, at 13.  He thought he had a safe place to grow and try and explore his gender.  Now he was afraid.  I thought I could comfort him with simple words of reason.  The system is in place.  We have had bad presidents in the past and the U.S.A. hasn't imploded.  We will get through this.  I knew it wasn't enough, wasn't what he needed to hear, but I had no idea what else to say.

Today I woke up very early, eyes open and wide awake.  I settled down to read up on what has been happening in the world around me.  Something that I read hit me in my heart. I knew I was a safe place for everyone but did they?  Did my wonderful glorious grandchild?

And then I read farther.  A teacher had posted a large poster in her classroom that she said would remain up as long as she taught students.  And then it hit me.  I started crying, great gulps loud wailing tears flowing.

Yes, we have always had to be a voice for the voiceless, to fight for social justice, be a safe place for those who are harassed abused.  Yes, racism/sexism/heteroism (did I make that one up?) has always been there, supported by the very government that accepts protests against it.  We have always had to fight hated and abuse.  But this is harder.  Looking at this poster and realizing that everything on here has been fought for hard and fairly.  Everyone listed on this poster is dear to my heart, has been fought by me and millions of others and we have have just slipped back 50 years...because we have to tell ourselves these things are true rather than accepting and moving on.  Fifty years of hard work and toil and labor...  Half of the population has said that things need to change...but these things?  Not the progress we have made for human rights.  No.  It breaks my heart.  So I cried.

I am not a worrier.  I don't want to spend my limited energy on things that maybe might be, but on things that are being.  But my grandchild woke up crying because he doesn't feel safe.  My son called upset and almost inconsolable because his health insurance may be gone.  How will he pay to see his oncologist?  His psychologist?  His dermatologist?  My sister, my mother's aides, my do I console them?  Console and continue to see my world as hopeful.


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