Thursday, November 10, 2016
Today's Journal Entry--post election plotz
today's journal entry:
10 Nov 2016
When I woke up on Monday I thought the nightmare was about climate change, and maybe in the end it will all still be about that.
People I know who felt safe in the world—e.g. my son, husband—were devastated on Tuesday night. People who already knew they were never safe in this world, that safety is an illusion, that it was always an illusion, but maybe the illusion crumbled for them with the towers 15 years ago, felt a familiar deep pit in their bellies that could always be invoked, but managed to be set aside so that the work of life could go forward.
For months now, I have been thinking of John Dos Passos’s invocation of “we are two nations.” The entire trilogy is a mechanism for this phrase.
The two nations have always been the haves and have-nots, but what it is exactly that we have and who has it and has-not it has changed. In Dos Passos’s day, was the proletariat vs the bourgeois—the nations were the wealthy and the workers. It is still so, but doesn't seem the best description of what divides our two nations right now. I know a little bit about my nation (the nation that lost the election: young people, immigrants, liberals, city people, people of color, scientists and science-lovers/believers, etc.) and I know almost nothing about the contours of the nation that won this election—very religious right coupled with rural white people. My ignorance is a telling symptom of the problem, and I am ashamed of it.
Every once in a while I saw a glimpse of the other nation on facebook, or maybe followed a thread on my twitter account into what appeared to be a vast world, not for me and so barely accessible. Like very occasionally coming across pornography on the internet. So far from my experience, appreciated as fantasy by a some people I know, but a world that I almost never see—the filters are too good.
The pit in my belly knew about the sinking ship the minute HRC called one of our nations “a basket of deplorables.” It is not hard for me to put myself into a person’s shoes who is being called the passel, and I would want to drain the swamp too. Swamp. There’s something low and wet and smelly and animal about that word.
When women suffer for her mistakes, the world suffers too.
On the other hand, DT made a gazillion mistakes—omigod his life is a series of mistakes encased in a veneer of narcissism—yet he is now our president.
Even amongst my nation, everyone I’ve talked with has a different take-home message from this. Is it because we don’t listen to each other (my neighbor) was it HRC’s badly run campaign? (I've heard this mostly from white men of privilege) is it plain old hatred of the womanly swamp? is it our country’s deep racism and backlash against Obama? tapping into a fear/fascism with the time-tested targets of immigrants and Jews? Is this the result of a generation of republicans sowing mistrust in the tedious hard work of governance and the messy craft of governing? Is it simple greed that helped sow the mistrust in the first place? Is it the interconnection of the world coupled with a lack of the discipline to do evidence-based decision making amplified by a barely knowable statistical fluctuation plus mathematical instability? It’s only been a day and there are many more I haven’t yet talked with so yes yes yes all this and much more.
So now what?
For me right now it’s:
Count blessings at all scales—from my son who poses the question to himself about how best to live his white privilege to my country that accompanies a revolution in leadership with gentle words from leaving leaders side-by-side with protests of the people.
Listen to my friends and acquaintances who come from different backgrounds when they describe and explain their family and friends back home, like ambassadors from another nation.
Take care of the next generation and the world for the next generation, for I’m now the old generation.
Recognize the path that maximizes reason and compassion and walk it hard.