Wednesday, November 09, 2016

This state of mourning

Today is a day of mourning for the soul of this nation. What it was a week ago is dead, what is left is under attack, and that attack will go on for years with tacit approval from a near majority of Americans.

Make no mistake: Something good died yesterday. Progressive changes over the last 60-70 years now stand to be undone. Cultural norms have shifted decades in reverse, and it's now not only okay but a sign of power and success to demean and insult those who are different or even inconvenient to you. Bullying is laudable. Cheating is smart. Getting mine is a guiding light.

There's another thing to be said, too, and this is the hardest thing. This election WAS about race, and about gender, and about whether we as a people could tolerate continuing on the progressive (not PERFECT, but steadily improving) path that we have been on. Marriage rights, gender income equity, civil rights, and on and on. These things hang in the balance.

Lots of people are saying that this isn't about race or gender, that everyone who voted for Trump is not a racist or homophobe or misogynist. But, isn't that worse? To not fall into these categories, which means by default that  you understand that these things are wrong and even repugnant, but to still cast a vote for President of the United States of America for someone who is explicitly and grandly and by his own definition all of these things? Isn't that worse?

The meanest but most obvious truth is that for the most part, the people saying they are not these things actually are these things. You know it, I know it, they know it. They're in our offices, in our neighborhoods, in our families. And we have to deal with this. I do not know how to do that anymore. I'll have to figure that one out, because right now I just don't see it.

I'm saying them and us. Us and them. It is a fact that this nation is divided. We've spent the last 8 years trying to Yes We Can our way out of that division. I was right there with you. That time is over now. Best to take this in, acknowledge reality, define your "us" and get on with your new life. Work hard and take care of your people and protect those who need it from those who would do them harm.

I don't know what to do, so I will take it step by step and do what I can. I'm staying the hell off of Facebook. Staying close to my wife and son. Working hard for causes I believe in, for people who will suffer under Trump in ways that I, a straight married middle aged white guy, will not. We'll be ok--but not everyone will, and we need to remember that.

I'll find a new center, new outlets, new meaning in art, get outside more, read more, hug my kid more. And I'll wait for reason to return.

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