The Morning After

Categories Life, Love, Self, Thinking

So. Here we are.

The election is over and you would have to live under a rock to be unaware of the climate this morning. Sure, about half of the people in the U.S. are mighty pleased with themselves this morning, but the other half are devastated.

I don’t do politics here on the blog. Or at all, really. While I have very strong feelings about such things, I have always held to the philosophy that politics, religion, and sex simply don’t belong laid out on the kitchen table. These topics create so much dissension and anger among people – even people who love one another fiercely – that sometimes it is better to simply refrain from discussions in certain public settings.

But today I cannot be silent.

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I cannot be silent when so many of my friends and people I love are hurt, scared, and angry. I cannot be silent when my daughter stands before me and cries at the results of this election because even at the tender age of eight, she understands that bullying and hate appear to have been rewarded. I cannot be silent when the new president-elect consistently spews hatred directed at so many groups of people in this country (and the world) – people who are simply different from him.

I understand that this nation has problems. It always has; every society does. I understand that people want change, and I don’t disagree that some change is in order. But I sat in front of the TV last night dumbfounded – dumbfounded – that this country just put a man in office who has behaved as this man does and who is so uniquely unqualified for the office in both temperament and experience.

How in the world did we get to a place where so many people are willing to tolerate this level of hate? In all sincerity, I want to ask someone who voted for him these questions.

I want to ask parents of daughters how they can back a man who has treated and spoken of women the way he has. My daughter is a woman. What does this presidency mean for her?

I want to ask people who know someone who is Jewish how they can back a man who delivers not-so-cloaked anti-Semitic rhetoric and is endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party?  My husband is Jewish. What does this presidency mean for him?

And the list goes on and on…

I have to say again that if you are unaware of all the insults and hate he has directed at African Americans, Latinos, Muslim and Jewish people, handicapped people,  the LGBTQ community, women, military personnel, and so many more, then you haven’t been paying attention. And if you are aware, why is that behavior acceptable?

Please don’t talk to me about deleted e-mails or pro-life topics or trade agreements or any of the other myriad reasons people cite as reason where this election is concerned. You’re going to have to come at me with something stronger than that. We can argue those points for the next four years and it won’t change the fact that above all, hate has somehow become tolerable. That is unacceptable.

This all reminds me of the movie The American President. Have you seen it? Watch it. Really. Set aside the love story angle and pay attention to the election angle between the incumbent President and the hopeful who is trying to unseat him. This guy spews hate at people, preys on their fear, and gets those who are dissatisfied with the status quo to buy into his attacks. One of the characters in the movie finally asks the sitting President, “How do you have patience for people who claim they love America, but clearly can’t stand Americans?”

[tweetthis]“How do you have patience for people who…clearly can’t stand Americans?”[/tweetthis]

 

I feel like that’s where we are. And it frightens me.

So where am I going with all of this? Well, forward. That’s the only place we can go. But I will not move forward with the kind of hate and anger that has characterized this election season and continues to characterize discussions this morning.

I choose to do what I have always believed is the way to go – live with a focus on love, on kindness, and on compassion. Am I perfect in that regard? Of course not. But I sure do make the effort to be mindful enough to learn from any mistakes I make and continue to improve.

I choose to hold fast to my faith and to my personal belief that all things have purpose, even tragedy. We may not always recognize that in the throes of a challenge, but it has been my experience that ultimately, there will be an answer. If you’ve read here for any length of time you know how strongly I believe that even in the darkest moments, there is always hope for light.

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If you need a reason, look into your children’s eyes. Think of the people you know who are part of groups that have been insulted and oppressed in this country. If you need to know what to do next, think about all the similar instances in history where people turned fear and hate and disappointment into action. Do something. Join us at 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. Be kind to people. Period. If you need something to remind you why we keep working and keep fighting and never quit, read Thomas Paine’s The Crisis, No. 1This is not the first time we’ve felt down and out and it probably won’t be the last.

Be sad and cry if you need to. Wear black or whatever helps. And then remember what President Obama said in the Rose Garden just a little while ago – the sun is going to come up again tomorrow. So get up and go forward.

And please…always remember that Love Wins. Even when that’s difficult to believe.

Peace.

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I’ve added this post to the Finish the Sentence Friday link-up hosted this week by  Kristi at Finding Ninee and Denise at Adventures of a Jayhawk Mommy.  

This week we’re talking about change and the unexpected.

The results of this election certainly qualify.

Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

28 thoughts on “The Morning After

  1. Beautiful. I commend you Lisa for writing today and diving in where we don’t like to go here in the blogaverse. I wrote one too and deleted the entire thing. Shrugging as I type my comment here. I don’t know how to feel. I haven’t cried. I’ve inhaled and exhaled lots with watery eyes to hold it all in. The only relief I had today is the tension has been released from my back of whatever stress was I holding on to before today. It’s over and it’s also just the beginning. I’m wrapping this scripture around me like a shawl and holding it on for dear life, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

  2. There are many things we can take away from this; some now, some will emerge as time passes. I don’t see this a a referendum on bullying or even sexism as some suggest. I see it as a referendum on the ensconced political oligarchy and the “knows better than the masses, we must set these fools straight” media.

    Although the outcome distresses me somewhat, I’ll have to admit, watching Fox, CNN, ABC, and MSNBC freak out last night was worth it!

    It was possibly a revolution as much as a referendum; but not a single shot was fired.

    Either way, many people I value, respect, and cherish are in bad places right now; and I am pretty much powerless to help.

    That in and of itself is frustrating.

    You are right, love wins every time.

    Excellent writing – you never disappoint.

    1. All good and true thoughts, Paul. You always offer a clear perspective on things.
      I think that feeling of powerlessness to help is what many are experiencing right now, and how many feel about living with these results for four years – no matter which side you’re on. Best we can do is remember that fighting hate with more hate never works.
      And thank you. I really appreciate that.

  3. I feel your pain, Lisa, and agree wholeheartedly. Today was such a difficult, heavy, horrible day for me and our family. My son (9yrs) thought I was kidding when I told him the results when he woke up. I saw in his eyes that he hoped I was kidding. He immediately went online to check. Hell, even my son apparently knows how to fact-check. If only half of the country knew as well. *sigh* Yes, we need to move on. But it doesn’t mean we can’t be angry. I am very angry and I hope for this anger to keep fueling me so I can do my part in ensuring something this ridiculous and devastating doesn’t ever happen again.

  4. I read this three times today, I needed it. Each time, my mind fogged and drifted away into the shock of the outcome of this election. So now I am back, to say, I love this so much and thank you for writing it. <3

  5. Yeah those of us in the non-US world are literally flabergasted that a mysogenist like Trump got elected. I mean we knew your age of empire was over, but we didn’t realise that it had sunk so far so fast. The US is becoming increasingly irrelevant in this century – your days as the worlds only superpower are over. All we ask is that you let us get on with progressing humanity without further interference

    1. I know many share your disbelief, Dave. Certainly we all have our personal opinions and feelings about it. But this little blog really isn’t the venue for anti-US sentiment and insult. As others have said here, this is a time of hurt and upset for many Americans – and beyond, really – and we’re all looking for ways to move forward positively without the hate that has characterized this election.

  6. Powerful words! I do believe we all have much to learn from what has happened, and like you I believe that in the end love will triumph over evil. What we do as individuals and as a collective is far more important than what he does. Stay the course, stay strong in what you stand for, stay kind to one another.

  7. I understand your grief. I, too, have struggled. I faced my community college classes the next morning, and tried to begin healing the divide between my students. I did my best to condense a full-woman’s studies course into a thirty minute slot. I tried to teach empathy and compassion by letting my muslim students process their fear. One girl has decided never to wear hijab again and said she is glad she can pass for Hispanic. I remind them that we have given enough attention to racists and to not engage and not interact when possible. I believe the majority of people in our society are not racists. Certainly, a minority has been made bolder recently.

    I feel like I’ve been sent back in time to my childhood growing up in the country in Texas. I escaped through education, yet all these racists are right back where I left them. It’s sad….I wanted a different outcome with every fiber of my being. I know I’m suppossed to work to teach others how to heal themselves and this world. My work seems overwhelming yesterday and today. Thanks for your article.

    1. What a challenge educators have right now. I taught for 15 years and I remember vividly how difficult 9/11 was. Hang in there and hold on to what you believe. It is an overwhelming job, but you will find your way. Thanks for what you do for your students.

  8. Lisa, I want to believe in that last line. As you though, I have been reeling inside from all this though and yes I cried, too. Really not sure how we got here either, but again in a perfect world love needs to win out and triumph over all the hate out there if nothing else. Seriously something has to give and have a bit of faith left in that myself.

    1. I don’t know, Janine. I think maybe we got here because we weren’t paying attention. Maybe we weren’t being compassionate enough, smart enough, or something. Maybe we turn a blind eye too often. Honestly, I don’t know, but the hate and division is just not the atmosphere I want for my daughter. I think we have to believe that there is good and that good triumphs, even if not today. My job now is to help my daughter learn to live with disappointment, turn frustration into positive action, and keep on going. That much we can do!

  9. I *have* to believe that most of his supporters voted for change in the only way they saw fit. I don’t like the proposed way of going about it, but I’m willing to see if it will work. And in the meantime, I’m going to do my part to make sure that the disenfranchised among us know that I see them.

    1. Rabia, hello! Long time no see!
      Yes, I have to believe that, too – was just saying that in my reply to Kristi. We all act in the manner we believe is appropriate for us and our families. That has to be the truth. I am certain there are people out there – on both sides, really – who are genuinely filled with hate. That has always been true in the world. It just seems to be more acceptable in recent history and I do think this election has much to do with that. I hope that this presidency will not be marked by the same behavior as the campaign process has been. But why campaign like that if it isn’t how you’ll govern? I’m having a hard time believing that it will be different and the last two days of headlines aren’t helping me any. But I’m choosing to have faith.
      Thanks for coming over!

  10. Yes, yes, yes. What you said. I’m still weepy but donated to Planned Parenthood and that helped a little bit. I agree too that all of the reasons are too much less than the fact that he is the face of hate but I can’t believe that all of those who voted GOP this round are so full of hate… sigh. Great post, Lisa.

    1. Nope, Kristi, I can’t either. In fact, I know they aren’t because I know people who voted that way and they are not hateful people. They are good and kind people with jobs and families and concerns just like everybody else. I believe with all my heart that these are people who are doing what we all did – voted for what we believe is in the best interest of ourselves and our families. Doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people are filled with hate, but it’s not everyone.

  11. Oh Lisa. Poignant words here. Again you are a reasonable voice and I love your place here. I am feeling this for Canada, if I may speak for my entire country.
    🙂
    This, I must admit, doesn’t look good for the US, but I know so many of you, brilliant writers and caring people, and I know it is hard for so many. Bullying has been condoned. I feel like I see things more clearly, without working eyes, than many who can see. I feel, as a woman, like I don’t really matter much, in the eyes of any person who could speak such things or who looks the other way. I feel like I am shouting and nobody even looks around at me. I know there is a lot of noise going on in places like FB and Twitter and how it can all tangle up into a big mess of a ball of reactions. We do need to try and keep an open mind, to be tolerant of people we disagree with, but why is that so hard? I know you can’t understand and are struggling to explain all this to your eight-year-old. I hate that so much is unknown about what this guy will do and I wish for four years of relative calm, but I suppose that will have to start with someone being the bigger person. So difficult in a place as large as the US.
    I do agree that staying away from such controversial topics is usually safer, but this time I decided to go the other way on that and my brother and I recorded a before and after podcast from our point of view, Canadian style.
    🙂
    Love that movie by the way. Michael plays the character so well. I am thinking of writing some sort of fiction of this situation we’re in, to try and work out the feelings of distress I’m experiencing. It would be inspired by Chimamanda’s story she wrote for New York Times Book Review. Truth is stranger than fiction, but I can’t wake up from this. I know. I’ve tried. I have the pinched arm to prove it.
    Take care and know that I am around and Canada wants to remain your neighbours, here if you need us. I don’t think our prime minister would mind me saying that.

    1. Wish I could quell your fears, Kerry, but I honestly can’t. This is strange and frightening territory for all of us. But. I also know that if we look back at history, this sort of thing has happened before. The difference is that right now we can only see the present, not look at it with a retrospective perspective. (That was a lot of “ive’s.) At the risk of sounding unconcerned (which I absolutely am not), I believe that we will get through this and perhaps be better for it all on the other side – at least that’s what has proved true in the past in so many situations.
      A large part of how I am facing all of this and discussing what I need to with my daughter is my faith. Prayer. A lot of it. I believe firmly that there is great power in prayer and I will continue to do that right along with anything else that can be done like safety pins, petitions, protests, or anything else. One day at a time.

  12. It is the better part of a week and I feel no better. In fact, I am very disturbed by people in the media who recognized the destructive venom that was being spewed on Tuesday, but by Wednesday were saying we have to hit reset. Reset? What I think I am really hearing is, be quiet now. Get in line. It is what it is. Yeah, well, what it is leads to facism and facism grows and spreads when good people are too polite to speak up. No, now me. I will be watching and warning.

    1. Yup, I know. This is so very difficult on so many levels. And frightening. The world is definitely different right now. So yes, watching, warning, and a whole lot of praying, I think, are in order.
      I read your post that shows up here, but couldn’t comment. I’ll be over again later from a different machine.

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