Saturday, November 12, 2016

Where Do We Go From Here?

I woke up Wednesday morning to find a Facebook post from an Indiana-bred friend, urging unity.

Please.

Even if Donald Trump had not presented himself as vile and boorish, as uninformed and unprepared, as devious and divisive, supporters of Hillary Clinton could hardly be expected to immediately unite behind him.

I was a Bernie Sanders supporter until late summer, when I finally did enough reading up on Hillary Clinton's character and beliefs to enthusiastically support her. I voted for Bernie in the primary, just as I voted for unsuccessful candidates in the past, including Paul Tsongas in 1992 and the Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1988.

But on Election Night, I was prepared for a Trump victory. I took Michael Moore seriously, and I agreed with my husband when he predicted Clinton would take the popular vote but lose the electoral college. I'm no political savant, but I was a political reporter for a few years and I've covered more elections than I can count.

Things can go very wrong. I know this. I just didn't feel it - a Clinton victory - would happen.

Still, I was not prepared to get behind Trump less than 12 hours after the polls closed. Are you kidding me? I'm not prepared to unite with Republicans ever. Yet I don't consider myself a Democrat.

After the sappy posts about uniting, came the bashing of protestors and those who failed to immediate ly declare unity with a president-elect who vows to gut Obamacare and everything else our first black president has accomplished.

In between were fearful comments from LGBT friends, concerned that Trump would abdicate, figuratively speaking, to Mike Pence and various and sundry GOP thugs like Paul Ryan and Rudy Guiliani.

So I began unfriending and blocking. I like that social media platforms allow this. I wish it were so easy in real life. I do not need negativity on top of what may well become a global tragedy.

Three people fell from grace yesterday, one more this morning. A few more are on shaky ground.

Those of us who feared a Donald Trump presidency need time to vent, time to process, time to heal. Then we need to consider how we will move forward to ensure that in two years the destructive forces of Trump, Ryan, Guiliani and others like Scott Walker and Christ Christie will not continue on their collective hate-filled path.

We also need time to watch what unfolds as Trump makes his plans to move forward as the ill-equipped leader of the free world. I do not think he can do it. I do not think he will.

During the campaign, Donald Trump gave us no reason to consider uniting with him. We - those of us who hoped for a different result on Election Night - need time to grieve and make our own plans for moving forward.

Please don't urge unity. Please don't criticize us for objecting.

Frankly, to do anything but watch now would be foolhardy. Let's see what happens next. And keep up the protests.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

How to Survive

I started this post about three weeks ago, and have been tinkering with it, changing the introduction, for some time now.

This morning, after a long sleepless night, I got up hoping I'd had a bad nightmare. No such luck.

I read think pieces online. I saw my friend's posts on Facebook. I watched Hillary Clinton's speech just a while ago.

Now, what I think is this. We need today to mourn and regroup, recover from last night's madness. And then we need to take charge.

Here's my personal prescription for dealing with the notion of a monster like Donald Trump in the White House:

Take baby steps. Volunteer for the local United Way, community foundation, or some other group that helps fight poverty and inequality. Become involved in a PTO or other group that helps schools and kids.

Get involved in politics on a local level. Go to local meetings; they are open to the public, with very rare exceptions. Start with the school board or the city council. Run for office, or help someone else run for office.  At the very least, let your mayor know you'd like to serve on a citizen committee. I've served on four such committees over the past few years, and its been a very rewarding and very interesting experience.

Join or start a League of Women Voters. Our community doesn't have one but for a time a branch of the local women's club took an active roll in promoting issues and politics.

Make your own world brighter. Join a church for spiritual sustenance and grounding. Invite friends over for pizza. Exercise. Make regular medical and dental visits. Embark on some DIY projects, or take up a new hobby. Pare down; hold a yard sale. Simplify your life, and your kids' lives. Take time to breath; don't rush from activity to activity. Seek balance.

Make someone else's world better. Our community has an organization that connects donors with needs. Many of the organization's projects are small ones, like collecting jars of peanut butter and jelly for kids' summer snacks, or holding a diaper-bag drive for new mothers. Do something small to help someone. Do lots of small things to help.

Build community. Go to community events and become part of your town or neighborhood. Meanwhile, build a sense of place at home. That may be as simple as rearranging the furniture, or as complex as building a new addition or landscaping your yard.

Broaden your horizons. If you can afford to, travel. Make day trips or long weekend jaunts, if nothing else. A change of scenery is always refreshing.

Read history. Learn about past responses to unfortunate turns of events. Learn from 1930s Germany. Learn from Reconstruction-era America. Read about real leaders, Winston Churchill and Franklyn Delano Roosevelt.

Find your tribe. Make friends with like-minded people. You are not alone.