In the After(math) of the Election
My rules for SOL posts are simple: open a new post on my blog, see what comes up, and write. What I wrote last week about the election of November 8 is still true. I imagine it will be for some time. So forgive me if I cast around for a subject today.
But maybe not.
Life has suddenly been divided into two categories: Before and After. In this After time, two things have happened. One is deeply interior. One is more tangible.
To try to put words to the interior shifts, I’ll use a couple of metaphors, mixing them with reckless abandon and probably overwriting. (Sorry not sorry.) If you think of self as a multiplicity rather than a single entity, it is easier to envision. In this envisionment, the multiplicity takes the shape of landforms, like the plates deep within the earth. Geologically, these are always shifting.
It’s why there are earthquakes, for example. Thus far, the After has been a time of plate tectonics. Slowly, slowly, these cumbersome forms have begun their shifts. This did not start consciously, but as I’ve become more aware of the process, I have been preoccupied, forgetful, snappish. I’m myself, but deeply changed.
How comfortable I had become in my life. With holding passionate beliefs yet living them halfway. The time is coming when passionate beliefs will no longer be enough. When the only option will be action. As I’ve said to my family, we can’t be active on all fronts; we’ll have to pick a couple and then commit to doing. Commit to bring our best selves, our talents and strengths to actions that, for me, may or may not be socially or judicially acceptable. Everyone must find his or her own way to a conception of action. I hope to discover that I have the courage of my convictions, because I am chilled to the bone by what is coming, and afraid for us all.
In terms of the tangible, that too is multiple. I have made some decisions and begun to act on them. They are tiny, tiny, tiny, but they are a start.
- To the degree that I have the emotional wherewithal, I will try to engage in meaningful dialog with those who believe differently than I. (Or should it be “me”? Be assured that no matter how much I need it, grammar will not be one of the things I take up in the coming time.) For example, I’m in a deep discussion (on Facebook of all places) with someone whose political views could not be more different from my own. It is so hard, and so necessary. I am also preparing one line responses to challenge the throwaway comments people make, for example, about “those kind of people.”
- A friend has recommended George Lakoff’s Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, a study on how to frame today’s issues and speak with people who have different worldviews. That should arrive tomorrow.
- I will engage in the work I need to do to become an unflinching ally to peoples at risk in this coming time: women (myself!), peoples of color, the LGBTQ community, the Muslim community, the poor. There is also a growing list of recommended reading in the Pantsuit Nation community and I will start there. I am considering gathering a few other women to read and work and perhaps prepare for local action. With a cross-county move in the near future, this may be a challenge.
- I will make a donation each month to an organization that works to promote and uphold social justice and human rights. This month was the ACLU. I love reading about all the donations to Planned Parenthood that have been made in Mike Pence’s name.
- I will do what I can to be vocal and active within the existing power structures of our country. Last night, for example, I emailed Paul Ryan about the disaster that is Stephen Bannon. I put Congressional contact information into easily accessible places. Today I’m going to email the principals of the local schools to ask what plans they have to nip hate speech in the bud.
I don’t know what other things to do right now. But there will be more.
There will be more.