In the After(math) of the Election

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-12-05-33-pmMy 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.

by domdomegg via Creative Commons CC BY 4.0

by domdomegg via Creative Commons license CC BY 4.0

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.”
  • 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.


CC BY 4.0

15 responses to “In the After(math) of the Election”

  1. It’s been very hard for me and others around school to stomach what’s happened over the last week. It very easy to get overwhelmed in the flood of Trump. However, how you’ve put together a way to stem the tide, if only in your way. Thank you for putting this together and sharing it with us all!

    • Karen says:


      Thank you for reading. I needed to write my own action plan just for myself. I think I am learning that in the coming time, being true to oneself may be the ultimate fuel. Peace, my friend, and courage.

  2. Linda Baie says:

    Thanks Karen, for putting things into words to follow: The time is coming when passionate beliefs will no longer be enough. When the only option will be action. I too have joined the ACLU, & plan other commitments. Crazy week, still hard to believe, and actually HRC did win the popular vote. I don’t know if that makes me glad or even more frustrated.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks for reading, Linda. I don’t know about that popular vote thing either. There is no aspect of this that is simple is there…?

  3. Maureen says:

    It is a beautiful thing to find your slice that echoes and extends the racing thoughts I have had since last Tuesday. These words are so true: “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.” Thank you for this!

    • Karen says:

      You are more than welcome. Thank you for reading, and for being part of the effort to figure out where the hell we go from here….

  4. Joanne C Toft says:

    Thanks for writing. I like your thoughts and even more your steps to action. It is the little steps of action that will make a difference in the long run. Keep going!!

  5. Love that your post contains ideas about what we can do. Complacency isn’t going to pull us out of the Trump rubble. It’s been a hard, hard week. Such an understatement.

  6. One step at a time. Breathe. Push ahead. Stay connected. Write.


  7. I appreciate how your slice slid from geologic scope to tangible actions like, “become an unflinching ally to peoples at risk.” Amid tough times, your eyes remain on making positive differences, Karen, and that’s admirable.

  8. […] guess I’d better put my money where my blog post […]

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