I’ve been taking my time to write this because I needed to think quietly and for a long time before I understood how I feel.
I needed to put aside my sadness, anger, and frustration. I needed to go out in the woods with a dog leading the way and watch him bounce across the field, nose to the ground.
On election day, my sister and I watched the results from Canada. All day I’d felt optimistic and maybe (if I’m honest with myself) a bit smug. So when the result became more and more obvious, I slid into a dark hole I’d dug for myself.
I felt a bottomless disappointment. Grief for dashed hope. Hate colored with fear.
I scared myself by how sharply my anger was pointed, how envenomed.
But the small voices of my conscience came to my rescue. Hate is hate. It doesn’t matter whose side you’re on or if you feel your cause is more righteous than someone else’s. Hate puts blinders on, handcuffs you to an immovable post of unreasonableness.
I can’t live that way. We can’t live that way. Living that way is what got us to this place, this vote. There’s a lot of hate out there. Intolerance. Anger. Mistrust. Name calling. Fear. There’s also a lot of hardship. Lost jobs. Dead children. Exhausted, hungry, cold people.
Abused people. Hurt people. Disenfranchised people. Scared people.
We did this. Every one of us, and there’s no use denying it.
But we can also undo this. Slowly and with purpose. We can start listening to each other more, particularly those we disagree with (I’m as guilty as anyone). We can start thinking better of others, start being better ourselves.
I’m not being naive; I’m being open. I’m not saying be tolerant of hate; I’m saying lighten the load for someone who needs help. I’m not saying be complacent; I’m saying watch for evil like a hawk, but watch for goodness just as carefully. Be on your guard, but be willing to reach out. Be good. Be creative. Be kind. Share what you have if you can. Accept help when you need it.
Vote. Protest. Petition. Speak out.
Make art. Make noise. Make right.
It’s a complicated dance and I don’t know all the steps yet. But I can’t stop wondering what I could have done, what small act of kindness or courage I could have offered, that might have made someone else suffer less.
I’m not telling you what to do. I know that humans have battled humans for as far back as our history is recorded. I’m just musing out loud, I suppose. But I really believe there has to be something good that can come from all of this anger and hate, the chanting and the posturing. There has to be a way that we can fix this.
We’re all in this together, riding this pale blue dot in space. Our fates are bound up together. We thrive or shrivel together. There’s no other way.