Recovery III: our roots
The last two blog posts I’ve talked about shock and its treatment. I’ve been incredibly moved by the comments you’ve posted. Has any other election ever brought a reaction like this? Sure I felt depressed when Bush was handed the election by the Supreme Court, and angry, but weeping? Terror? No.
As Joyce, living overseas, says in her comment:
One of the women who lives upstairs, a widow, came to my door and rang my doorbell, wanting to know if I was all right.
How do I feel? I’ve lost my country. All I now have is a passport.
(And to those of you who voted for the man, who thought his apparent policies justified overlooking his extreme words and his vehement friends—God, I hope you’re right. I hope he leads us to a good place and not off a cliff. And yes, Hillary was dead wrong to call his supporters a basket of deplorables—which probably cost her more votes than any email server. But more than the words, she was wrong to think it. She lost because she had no clue about the very real pain and rage of a large part of the country she wanted to represent.
She didn’t listen, the DNC didn’t listen, and the whole world now gets to pay the price.)
It doesn’t help knowing, as the great Nasty Woman Samantha Bee put it, that I’m one of those responsible for this:
Don’t try to distance yourself from the bad apples and say, “It’s not my fault, I didn’t vote for him. Hashtag ‘not all white people’.” Shush! If Muslims have to take responsibility for every member of their community, so do we.
Okay. We’ve retreated into our novels and needlework, binged on carbs, gone for walks, and wept with our friends. Deep breath. And another.
That’s right: grass roots.
We are a republic. We choose people to govern for us. We pay them to decide on our laws, build our schools, see that our bridges don’t fall down, and make sure that if we lose our jobs or our minds, there’s some kind of a safety net. We pay them so we can get on with our lives.
That luxury of being a bystander is gone. The trust is broken. For the next four years, we can’t turn it over to others. It remains to be seen just how many of Mr. Trump’s declarations will actually be implemented, but I think we can count on a scythe being aimed at the necks of the environment, women’s rights, and the protection of minorities. And just as post-Brexit Britain saw an upsurge of attacks on minorities, we’re already seeing it here. (See the above piece by Samantha Bee for what one of her staff met on his way to work.)
We have a republic based on checks and balances, and friends, that’s now us. You and I are that check, you and I have to provide that balance. At least for the next two years, until we can shove more Democrats and independents into the houses of Congress.
But before then, think about this comment from Brad, retired Army doctor:
We found that units with high cohesiveness and where the soldiers trusted their leadership, those units had much lower rates of PTSD. They weren’t facing the stresses emotionally alone, in other words.
Friends, you and I are not alone. We are a unit of strong, bright, caring people, and if we have to pick up the slack for the next two years, we can start now.
I want to hear your thoughts. I want to know how you’re planning to make a difference. I want to keep this going, because if we don’t, we’re going to lose everything that (oh, the irony…) makes this country great. So, here’s a couple of small thoughts I have, tiny roots that make grass so damned tenacious:
- Our money. If we can’t trust our representatives to guard our backs, we have to outsource our checks and balances. Jezebel has a list, but I’ve personally started with three organizations with a long history of pushing back: ACLU and Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List. I’ve gone in to each of them today and signed up for a monthly donation.
- Our community. Seems to me that after an election that was all about dividing us up, the best check-and-balance involves coming together. You and I need to reach out, and see if we can lance some of the poison. You and I need to notice whenever something offensive comes along, and gently, firmly, politely intervene. Men who interrupt workplace harassment with, “Not cool, man.” Or the method shown by the artist Maeril:
You and I need to hold hands and say, No, we’re not going there. We’re too good for that.
Has any other election ever brought a reaction like this? I don’t think so. But as my friend Brad the doctor said:
Cactus and dreamers have tough roots.