What’s up, guys? Anything interesting and of great personal and global significance happen this week? Yeah. Yeeeah. First, let me say that I’m struggling so hard against the temptation to preface this post. To in some way downplay my opinions and my right to them in an effort to avoid later blame or criticism, most of which I’ll make up in my head anyway. So with that thinly veiled preface in an attempt not to preface out of the way, let’s go.
I am in pain. We are all in so much pain. Five a.m. on Nov. 9 hurt in a way I didn’t have a frame of reference for before now. Different from how I’ve felt when someone yelled a racist slur at me or treated me or my family as less-than. Different from how it feels to want something badly and gleefully anticipate celebrating the getting of it with everyone you love — and end up not just empty-handed but with armfuls of the flaming opposite of that thing. Different from the pain of realizing things are worse than they seemed, and that the road ahead is not just hard but basically littered with IEDs. This loss/victory was all of those things plus the sick falling feeling of having the rug ripped from under you. Because this is our president. This is the executive, legislative, and soon some of the fresh blood of our judicial, branch of our government. This is a campaign victory that some people are already treating as a green light for hate crime. This is a hard loss (on a technicality no less) that we’re already being told to shut up about. This is a pain that demands crying, hiding, anger, self-care, empathy, and action at the same time. Anyway, I’m saying this has all just never come up before so I’m freaking out, cool?
I should probably stop imagining the alternate-history version of Nov. 9 in which my home states of Pennsylvania and Ohio had been populated only by me and we’d won. I should probably stop pouring out a little for the celebrations we never got to have and the historic inauguration I will not attend. I should probably think on how this will mobilize people in a way that a Hillary victory might not have. But I’m not there yet. This couch potato hermit would rather feel safe and loved than mobilized sometimes. We are bumbling through this as best we can, in different ways. Perhaps realizing in the back of our minds that now that everything’s different, we have to be different, too. Maybe we have to do more and be more than we’d planned in life. In sum, there’s no perfect way to move forward, so you do you but probably don’t vandalize? Here’s my rough game plan:
First, some gratitude. It was a hell of a year. I got to vote for a female president on a major party ticket for the first time in history. I got to be inspired by the passion of Bernie’s supporters (while being hard-core Hills all the way, because she was always my candidate, but thank you for the interesting offer.) I got to watch a lot of people put aside their differences and realize we are #StrongerTogether. I got to use a lot of hashtags.
I got to knock on doors in West Philly with my amazing sister, and with friends in Virginia. I got to moon over my friends all over again as you showed your passion, dedication, and love for each other and for human rights in a bunch of different ways. Have I told you lately that I love you?
Next, activities. I’m gearing up to talk less and do more. Or more likely talk more and do more. Thank God for the internet, which immediately reared up and collectively said: Let’s 👏 do 👏 this 👏 mother 👏 fucking 👏 thing, 👏 bitches. A friend suggested more we could do, too — run for office or move to a red state, for instance. For me, my time, money, and writing are probably the sharpest arrows in my quiver. I barely dipped my toe into canvassing and I want to do more, and more often. I want to get trained in how to really reach people. There was a girl I talked to in Philly who said she was voting in the local races but not the national ones and was telling all her friends to do the same. She just didn’t want any part in electing Clinton (but assumed she would be elected). We talked about it, and I tried to impress on her my beliefs without making hers bad or wrong, but I’m not sure I really got through to her. Next time, I’d like to come prepared with the finest mind control abilities — I mean training — possible.
Lastly, self-care. Let’s make and consume art, and hold our friends and family close. Let’s smell my cousin’s baby. Or maybe just I will do that. Let’s cry as much as we need, and read books, and binge Netflix. Let’s keep ourselves sharp and healthy since we do, it is clear, have a lot of work to do, even us couch potato hermits.
Mostly let’s show our new president just how great — how splendid, proud, mighty, and unbeaten — we really are.
<shoots hug cannon>