On Wednesday morning, when I woke up to the New York Times headline “Trump Triumphs,” all I could think was, “Who the f* stepped on a butterfly?” My mind couldn’t process it. It was a scene from a dystopian book or film, an alternate history a la The Man in the High Castle.
This blog is not intended to be about politics. And had the election gone the way I’d hoped, I don’t think I’d ever be discussing politics here. Given the way things turned out, though, politics will make an occasional appearance. Not too much, I hope. I’d much rather write about writing and books and my family and genealogy. But I can’t stick my head in the sand. Donald Trump will be my president. There’s no denying that no matter how much people may hope for electoral college miracles. So I’ll just have to make sure my voice is heard.It’s not simply the many acts of hatred occurring that disturb me; what truly shocks me is that this was lurking beneath the surface of so many people for all these years and I simply didn’t know. I’ve always lived in liberal cities on the coasts; I thought most of the hatred was gone. What a sorry lesson for me to have to learn. This election has been a punch in the gut, wrenching me from my safe little nest. I was naive, but my eyes are now wide open. As a Jew and a woman, I feel threatened, but it pales in comparison to what it must feel like to be an immigrant, a person of color, a Muslim, or an LGBTQ.
My friend Ron Fein wrote a powerful post on Facebook: “[A]uthoritarianism usually doesn’t happen overnight. It comes in stages, and, like the proverbial frog in the pot of slowly boiling water, at each new move we can rationalize.” He suggests writing down the scenarios you think are improbable and what you’ll do if they occur, so you don’t become desensitized. Read his post and get on that.
What else have I done? I’ve made monthly donations to Planned Parenthood, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and the ACLU. I’m making sure we open conversations with my kids. I’m commiserating with my friends. I’m planning on attending the march in Washington, D.C., in January, not to claim he’s not my president, but to make sure that he knows that reproductive rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights are important to me, that I think people should be able to live confidently, happily, and safely in this country no matter their religion or color or immigration status. And I’m going to see what happens. I’ve been grieving all week, and now I need to move on. Accept what is happening and remain vigilant, but return to my life. I need to continue writing, continue mothering, continue running, and all the other things that make up my life.
We can’t let this election defeat us, and if we give up what means most to us, it will have. We need to be strong. We need to move forward. We need to keep doing the things in life that give us passion.
Love trumps hate. Simple as that.