It has been two days since US Elections on November 8th. Many of us are in shock. We are in mourning. We are afraid. It is real fear. There are definitely things to be concerned about if the new administration is able to follow through on its promises.
I found myself inconsolable in the wee hours of November 9th when the news came. I couldn’t sleep. I plunged into depression. I felt helpless and hopeless. I felt angry and betrayed by family and friends who boasted about voting for a monster (as I perceived him to be). It is personal for me. I stand to lose a lot as one of the targeted minorities on President Trump’s and Vice President Pence’s hit list.
November 9th was a day unlike any other. I went through the motions at work. Facebook continued to stream nasty meme’s as well as calls for kindness and civility from the very people who accepted the opposite from the most divisive, misogynistic, prejudiced candidate in recent memory. As the gloating persisted on my Facebook page, I did some housecleaning. I unfriended people I didn’t actually know personally and a few others who I realized were not really friends. Some may think it is mean to do such a thing, to unfriend someone. The truth is they probably won’t miss me. And the important thing is that it is a new beginning for me. It is Step One in regaining my power. It is Step One in remembering who I am and who I am not. I am not a victim nor am I a loser.
Step Two requires that I face my greatest fears. It is true that the progressive, inclusive and compassionate values many of us have fought for and gained in recent years could be dashed to oblivion by the single stroke of a pen just a few months from now. New, more restrictive mandates too, could be wielded upon us. Some of us could be sent back to countries we have never lived in, but are associated with by virtue of our ethnicity. Some of us may lose access to healthcare and basic services. Some of us, those who dream and wait, longing to come here, might never be allowed to set foot on this soil because the name of their god is not the same as those in power. Some of us may lose the right to marry who we love as well as face limited access to the goods and services availed to everyone, justified by religious freedom, our natural resources risk being depleted for corporate gain. The list goes on. But the truth is, nothing has happened yet. And we are all still here, over 59,938,290 by last count. We are not powerless. We still have a stake in this country. Fear is what drove many who voted for Trump to make their unwise choice. I must face each fear as it comes and separate reality from the boogeymonster I imagine it to be. Fear will not, cannot win.
Step Three will be the hardest thing for me to do. It’s an ongoing step. It is one that draws upon my spirituality and faith. Step Three requires that I forgive the people who are left in my circle who voted either knowingly or in ignorance regarding the consequences of their choice and the affect it might have on me personally. From a spiritual standpoint this is where the rubber hits the road. The truth is, this is the most powerful thing I can do, because I will never know peace and healing if I don’t. These are the words that have been swirling around in my head. “Forgive them, they know not what they do.”
Now you might say, “Well, some of them did know. How can you forgive someone like that?” Well, it’s hard. And I’m not going to say I’m good at this, or that I’ll get it right every time, but I need to remember that forgiveness is not about them, or what they do. It’s about me. Forgiving doesn’t let injustice, malice and ill intent off the hook, but forgiveness empowers me to remove myself from the position of victim, to gain control of the situation and to do something about it for the sake of justice without being sucked into the emotional drama that happens when we take things personally. It seems paradoxical. It’s not personal, but it is very personal, in that I have the power to choose whether I allow it to rule my life and my response to the world around me. I can be more effective when I am free from the bonds of unforgiveness.
So this is my list, my way of coping. You may not agree. Or if you do, you may not be here yet, and that’s okay. Take time to grieve. Take time to sort this all out in your own way. If you need a shoulder or just a friendly ear, I am here with others who know that we must never cease believing in all that is good and just and true. It’s been a shocking week. Maybe we all, even those of us who have been paying attention, needed to wake up and take things up a notch.
Peace Love and Hope to you all.
kat ~ 10 November 2016