I’m sorry that I’ve been away so long, and that my first post back will not be sunshine and rainbows. I would rather talk about sunshine and rainbows, but that’s not the reality of the world right now. I totally get if you are tired of talking about the election, and if you are, go ahead and skip to the end of the post,w here there will be at least one pic of a sunrise. (Because, yes, as hard as it is to believe, the sun is still rising. Beautifully.)
Friends, I am so angry. I am angry because I am afraid, and I am afraid of just how angry I am. I also know that anger is a cover emotion, and I need to unpack it. Let’s begin…
I am angry, just completely devastated, that Hillary lost. This is probably the most personal part of my anger, the part that genuinely just hated watching my team lose, the “sore loser” part. Yes, it’s true, that is a (SMALL) part of where my anger comes from. I wanted her to break that glass ceiling, for her and for women. She deserved to do it. And she deserved to be the President. She worked so hard and she was so strong, and she earned it, on a very basic level. And it absolutely kills me that that entitled, unprepared, impulsive man beat her.
I am angry at the many, many, MANY people that didn’t vote at all because they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary, for a bunch of reasons that are definitely not because she’s a woman. (People didn’t like her, but strong, vocal, independent women in general are widely loved by our culture. Am I right? This is post-sexist America, people.) Anyway, my guess is that all of those people that just couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary for a really, really good reason so they didn’t vote at at all – or who voted for a third party candidate – didn’t actually want or expect Trump to win, but they were railing against The System. They are principled. Well, good job, guys, because now we have a bigoted bully running our country. SO many people are afraid for their lives, but at least you have your PRINCIPLES. (I’m looking at YOU, Joe Rogan.) [This anger is, of course, misplaced. People are allowed to abstain from voting and allowed to vote for third party candidates (and, quite frankly, I’m pretty over this two-party system, too). I wholly support their right to do so. I am simply pointing out that maybe, maybe, it would’ve helped to consider the worst case scenario and whether the consequences of a Trump presidency were really worth it to “vote your conscience” in this particular election.
I am angry that I didn’t see this coming. Not because of the media, or Facebook, or because I live in a “liberal elite” bubble. I didn’t see this coming because I genuinely believed in the good of the humanity. I believed in common sense. I believed that people could see him for the unprepared, unqualified, bigoted bully that he is. Don’t get me wrong: I harbor zero illusions that we are living in post-racist America. I know how racist some people are. But I truly believed that enough people weren’t racist and could get past their (TOTALLY REASONABLE AND NOT SEXIST) reservations about Hillary to stop current-racist America from running the country. The disappointment is compounded by shock because I simply did not see this coming. (Yes, I am the white people that Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock were laughing at on SNL. I’m also the white person that Chris said would be “moping and writing on Facebook” the following day. I own it.)
I am angry at the narrative that Trump resonated with people because he is “authentic” and “speaks his mind.” I am angry at this misunderstanding that we have that saying whatever (racist) thought happens to cross your mind aloud is how you show your true self. This is false. If I said every freaking thing that came to my mind, I’d be a schizophrenic, depraved, mean, spiteful, jealous, delusional, gleeful, dramatic, bipolar mess of a person. Thoughts are impulsive and fleeting. It is TOTALLY OKAY to vet your own thoughts before you give voice to them. Encouraged even. It doesn’t make you less of a genuine person; it makes you less of an ASSHOLE. Being authentic is about knowing yourself, what your values are, and doing your best to speak and act accordingly, not flying off at the mouth every time you’re displeased.
And let’s be for honest here: when people say that Trump is “speaking his mind,” they are excited that they are being freed to say whatever racist shit they want. He’s categorized Mexicans as rapists and murderers, Muslims as terrorists, and couldn’t talk about black people without using the words “inner cities.” He was endorsed by the KKK. I’m not going to make the argument that he’s bigoted and racist here because it’s unnecessary. But let’s just be clear: People aren’t excited that they can now openly say that they don’t like the color blue; they are excited that they can now openly say that they don’t like black people. Because they believe that the president totally has their back. (And why wouldn’t they?)
I am angry because I am afraid, not just for the future of our country, but for people’s actual lives. I am angry because so many people – so many non-Christian, non-white, non-heterosexual people – are afraid for their actual lives. I am angry that some are implying that they are overreacting, that we are overreacting, that he hasn’t done anything to harm our country (yet). I am angry that they keep denying the role of race and bigotry in our culture, in his campaign, and in his election. I am angry that, even though so many of his supporters *swear* that they aren’t racist and that he’s not racist and that nobody voted him because they are racist, neither him nor his supporters have done a thing to denounce bigotry in all its forms or the acts of violence and hatred happening all across the country since his election in his name. I am angry that those same supporters who won’t take a vocal stand against hatred are calling for “unity” and telling us to “agree to disagree and move on.” I am angry that most of the people saying that don’t recognize that not being afraid is a privilege that is only afforded to white Christians.
I am angry at how many people don’t understand racism and white privilege, either because they have genuinely never been taught about it (a major failing of our public educational system) or because they just don’t care or think it implies to them (because they are WHITE). I am angry that they don’t recognize that their ignorance in itself is privilege because people of color have no choice but to learn about and understand racism.
I am angry about this narrative about how Trump gave “middle America,” “the white working class,” “the marginalized whites” a voice. This narrative that says that Democrats are out of touch with the working class. This narrative that says that the biggest problem that we have in American politics is that we haven’t given white Christian people enough of a voice. This narrative infuriates me, as does the idea that we are supposed to cater to a bubble of thin-skinned white men who interpret movement towards equality as their own oppression because they are so used to having such a large piece of the pie. Maybe there is a reason that they feel “left behind” by the “liberal, coastal, intellectual elite.” Maybe it’s because those racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, bigoted, hateful, divisive ideals should be left behind. Maybe it’s even okay for them to feel a little bit bullied; maybe that’s what equality looks like: You bullied every other non-White, non-Christian person for so fucking long, you denied their experiences and you denied them their basic rights, you excluded them, and now it’s your turn to feel just a teeny, tiny bit excluded. Maybe THAT is justice.
I am so angry that I can’t find compassion for these “marginalized” Americans. I am not used to having this hard of a time finding the good in the world, in people, in humanity. I generally think that I have a great capacity for patience, and understanding, and forgiveness. And I want to find compassion. I want to understand. Actually, no. That’s the problem: I want to want to find compassion and understanding. But I don’t. And this is where I am the real “sore loser”: I am so angry that hatred won this election. More than I believed in Hillary, I believed that Love Wins, and I am so deeply, deeply disappointed that hatred won. I am so angry that in order to find compassion for the people who supported Trump, for the people that are committing these acts of hatred, I am going to have to have to look past their hatred at the scared person underneath. Honestly? I don’t want to work that hard. I don’t want to go inside the racism. It is so, so, so much easier to see a racist and hate a racist and not see them as a whole person, not see them as a fellow human. This is work that I really, really, really don’t want to do. And I know that I will have to do this work because I don’t want to be a hateful person, because, deep down, I don’t want to let my fear and anger win. My spiritual growth will necessitate that I figure out how to love these people anyway. And that infuriates me.
Fortunately, one of my favorite leaders and love warriors told me that that’s okay. That we don’t have to rush through to compassion and unity. As Glennon said, “Before we call for healing, we must call for accountability. Before we call for unity, we must call for justice.” Before the country can heal, we will unify around injustice. People need to take responsibility for their attitudes and their actions. Amends need to be made. And until they are, we will advocate, march, protest, and fight in every peaceful way that we know how against racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and bigotry. The truth is, these things have no place in our world. Any ounce of common sense will tell you that. Every spiritual, ethical, and religious tradition in the world tells us that the goal is to learn to love, not hate, each other. These ways of thinking will be “left behind” and the people who cling to these ideologies will be left behind with them, or change. As the great activist Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” We may have lost in the short-term – change is hard – but Love will win the war.
As promised. I’ll also be going out for a walk with Danny at dusk to check out the super moon. Because, as angry as I am and as much as I want to say ‘fuck it’ and give in to the all-consuming depression that I am barely keeping at bay, I know that I’m no good to anyone if I wallow. I know that we need white allies in the revolution now more than ever, and that I have a responsibility to shake myself out of disillusionment and keep fighting for justice. Now is not the time to give up.
So I will write and read and walk and listen to music and meditate and do all the things that I have to do to get my mind back to the space it needs to be in to do the work, to act, to see the beauty in the world again. As Glennon tells me the Bible says, ‘First the pain, then the rising.’ Let’s do this.