we’ve got work to do…
I apologize now if what follows tends to wander a bit. No matter how much time I’ve spent this week trying to put words to what I am feeling, the complexity of the entire thing has me reeling still.
Yes, I’m talking about the election…or more precisely, I’m talking about the reaction to the election…Mine, yours…all the varied reactions I’ve seen.
Let me start with me, because I know me intimately and I have done enough soul searching to express myself. There was shock, of course, followed quickly by anger and then came the fear. Grief took a little longer to arrive, but arrive it did. Something else has been a part of this emotional milkshake as well, but it took me until last night to identify it. Guilt.
I feel guilty. Not because I voted for a vile man, but because so many like me did. See, I live in a pretty big pocket of privilege. I am white, middle class and while I am part of the LGBTQ community, I inhabit that invisible pocket under the B. On top of that, I live in the very liberal San Francisco Bay Area. The chances that I will be a target of any of the fallout, is small.
Yet, I have friends who have already been threatened. I have friends who have had their property vandalized, their citizenship all but invalidated by those who would whitewash our nation, their lives threatened.
The people in my life are a rainbow of nationalities, religions, skin colors, genders, orientation…pretty much any label we use to divide ourselves are discarded and instead, they are kin…they are my chosen family, brothers and sisters of my heart. People who fill my life with love, and they are today in danger.
I don’t even mean in danger by the policies that our newly elected vileness pose. I am talking merely of the danger of a populace of angry people who have had the veneer of societal responsibility ripped away, giving them permission to express their true feelings about the people they somehow believe are oppressing them.
We, as a society, have to step up. We have to remind these angry people that their misogyny, their bigotry is unacceptable..that we will not stand idly by while they abuse those they dislike for whatever reason. We must begin immediately. We must start now.
Yes, I know. You’re hurting too. You’re grieving too. You can’t find the reason in this madness. I know. I’m still there too. I don’t begin to know how we came to this place. I just know that we’re here now and we must act.
We must act now and we must make our voices heard. Not just those who have been targeted. I’m talking to the white men and women who are feeling this guilt, the ones who did not vote for vileness, the ones who maybe did, but have begun to see the error of their ways. Stand up. Act. Do something more than wringing your hands while you sit comfortably within your privilege.
Start now…and don’t stop. We need to protect our people. We need to make our society a safe place to live in, not for some of our citizens, but for all of them. We need to make enough noise that the Republican congress and the vileness we elected do not dare to enact the things he spoke of, for fear that we the people will respond.
Grieve. Work through your fear, your anger, your guilt. Find your strength.
But then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and strap on those stompy boots. We’ve got work to do.