Friday, November 11, 2016

Processing the unimaginable

Yesterday, I got an email from my cousin MB, which got a small thread going on how we were all working through Tuesday’s election – and how we all have to move forward from here. This (with a few tweaks/edits) was my contribution to the thread:

Wednesday felt like the day after a death. I spent much of the day texting, emailing, speaking with friends who, like so many of us, feel gut-punched, shocked, and afraid of what a Trump presidency could mean for our country.

I also did a couple of things that made me feel marginally better:

  • I went onto Hillary's website and sent her a message of thanks. Will she ever see this? Of course not. But some low level staffer may, and it may make him/her feel a bit better. And it made ME feel better.
  • I sent a note to President Obama thanking him (and his family) for all they have done for the country, and for the way they carried on under tremendous negativity with such intelligence, goodness, grace, and dignity. Will he ever see this? Of course not. But some low level staffer may, and it may make him/her feel a bit better. And it made ME feel better.
  • I became a supporter of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a group that provides a rational, science-based approach to, well, things scientific. With luck, they will be able to help explain to the new administration how science works, etc.

I am 100% in agreement with you that we all need to get off the couch, and up from under the covers, to keep an eye on what the new administration is up to. And to make our concerns heard loud and clear. We also need to be supportive of those in the community who may be feeling especially vulnerable now: African Americans who may fear the traffic stop even more today than they did a few days ago. Brown skinned folks who may or may not be undocumented immigrants but who will be hassled. Little girls wearing a hijab, now more than ever fearful of becoming the targets of bullies. Our LGBTQ friends who may be concerned that Obergefell and other hard-fought rights are at risk with a new Supreme Court. Members of the press under physical threat for telling the truth about what's going on.

I draw a few small comforts from the election.

Last time I looked, Hillary had won the popular vote. There are more of us out there than there are of them. (And I don’t mean “them” in a sense that everyone who voted for Trump is a deplorable. Just that their sensibilities seem to be so far out of whack with those of us who made other choices at the polls…How could they support someone like that? Maybe there is a world where Love Trumps Hate, but the world we live in is one where Emotion Trumps Reason.)

We also know that, if Hillary had won, the next couple of years would have seen us witness a complete Congressional paralysis, as so much effort would have gone into phony investigations aimed at "locking her up” and blocking every idea she put forth. We are spared that.

And I may be grasping at straws here, but Trump's lack of coherent ideology but perversely compelling charisma may put him a position where he can actually change some minds on some important points. E.g., if the Union of Concerned Scientists can somehow get through to him, it is possible that he can do something about climate change from the bully pulpit, now that he has a pulpit that does not have to involve bullying. Far fetched, I know, but if he can convince himself it's all his idea, maybe he can explain to those of his supporters so hell- bent on coal that there are reasons to worry about the environment...

And maybe he can get an infrastructure bill through that will bring some employment opportunities, especially to those communities that have been most ravaged by the impact of globalization – a bill that would have been impossible for President Obama to get through, given the opposition’s desire to see that he fail.

Like all of you, I'm just starting to process things. It helped enormously yesterday to stay off of MSNBC entirely, gaining me 4.5 of hours in the day that I can now devote to something else. Yesterday, one of those things was watching "Ghostbusters II." Not the greatest movie ever made, but fun - and with the bonus that some of the scenes were filmed on campus of my alma mater, Emmanuel College.

We are stronger together, but being stronger together also means that we all have to up our individual games.

I don’t want to just sit by and watch passively as bad things happen to good people, and when bad things happen to a good country.

Not quite sure we’re I’m heading yet with all this, but let’s go! (Don’t mourn, organize!)

Afterthought: Yet again, I am proud and grateful to live in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which gave Hillary Clinton 60.8 percent of its votes. 

Meanwhile, Happy Veterans Day, especially to all the vets out there. Here are a couple of past Veterans Day posts from Pink Slip’s past Veterans Day 2012 and Just in Time for Veterans Day.

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