To Clinton supporters and others who are reeling from the results of this election:
We need time and space to take care of ourselves, to process this grief and fear. Cry. Light a candle. Take a long walk. Give hugs. Reach out to others. Read this essay by Martha Beck that is still making me vibrate with powerful energy.
When you’re ready to move forward again, consider this. We focused a lot of energy and power on Clinton. She won’t be our next president, but that power and energy hasn’t just disappeared into a black hole of doom. It’s come back to its source: us.
This may be the kick in the pants we need to get out of our armchairs, for those of us who were in them, and to find new ways to take action together. We can use the power that’s snapped back to us to build grassroots movements, protect each other and the planet, and build community.
In the next few days I’ll be gathering with friends to strategize our next moves. One friend is keen on voting reform, specifically starting a NY chapter of FairVote. There’s a book I’d love to read in community, and I have other ideas that I will be posting after more reflection.
What I saw in Clinton over the last year and a half was a woman standing up in the spotlight, raising her voice to speak for us while facing the most scrutiny and judgment ever heaped on a presidential candidate. My own childhood taught me that if I wanted to stay safe, I had to stay small and on the margins. I’ve been afraid to be seen and heard, because any time I dared to show my true colors as a kid, I was laughed at, yelled at, or considered broken and in need of fixing. Well, between Clinton’s example and the redistribution of power that we’re experiencing in the wake of the election, I am done playing small. I’ve stayed out of politics and kept silent because I’m an introvert and a Highly Sensitive Person; my skin is thinner than most, which can be a superpower but often feels like a liability. No more of that. I will need to find my own way to speak up and participate. I will probably never be on the front lines of a protest, or even anywhere near one, but I will work behind the scenes in my daily life to make connections, build community, and inspire others.
I’m so thankful for all the “come together” messages I’m seeing from you. This is the silver lining: realizing that we really are in this together, that we must, can, and will be the change we want to see, and that we are stronger together.
Many of you may not be ready for this, so remember it a little way down the road. Trump may be the personification of the patriarchy, but the people who voted for him had many different reasons for doing so. We need to know what those reasons are. We need to share our own reasons for being afraid of his presidency. We need to hear and be heard, and we need to find common ground with our neighbors and family members who have scared the shit out of us with their choice to vote for a misogynistic, abusive bully. Partisanship won’t disappear on its own and it won’t end by magically picking the exact right candidates in the next election. It will end when we reform our voting system and start actually talking respectfully to each other again.
I am not suggesting that we tolerate hate speech or violence. I am suggesting that we did win the popular vote, and we have it within us to be leaders in reconciliation. Yes, I’m scared too. This whole standing up and speaking out thing is pretty new. I don’t think that I’m ready to truly listen yet, but I do know that’s the direction we have to go in if we want to make the best of the next four years and create different results in our communities, states, and nation during that time and beyond.
I love you. I believe in us and what we can do together. I’m here with you now while we cry. Let me know when you’re ready to get back to work.