Dear Americans and the rest of the world watching,
There are those of us, 60.2 million* people who voted for Hillary Clinton, who faced the election results and saw our lives flash before our eyes as the future crumbled before us.
I spoke to many people, most were with Her, one person’s vote was unknown, and another person did not vote. Some who were with Her and/or against Trump were and are completely devastated, wearing all black to reflect mourning — I was one of those people. Some are more empowered to fight for a better future, to protect people from climate change, pipelines that threaten tribal waters, racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia — I am one of those people.
I heard and felt so many emotions and saw so many tears on November 9. I shed tears myself and fought them back as well. I have never seen this kind of reaction on such a mass scale. 9/11 was entirely different than this though similar to the raw emotion all around. It was hard to protect my mind and heart from such an onslaught of tumultuous feelings, a mix of mine and others.
Talking about it with anyone and everyone seemed to be the only thing to do, to express some of what we were feeling. One of my close friends shared with me,
My sister put it well, ‘This isn’t my country. This isn’t my culture.’
This was my response:
If this isn’t the country or culture she wants, that’s a good thing because it’s motivation to change it. The reality is this is our country, and if it’s going to change for good, we all have to change and work to change everything about our culture through understanding. All of us have a responsibility to understand how we got here and then organize and take action on how we choose to move forward [and shape the future of our country].
When I try to understand how we got here, I see how capitalism and class differences contribute to the division. They are systems of oppression and are exactly what the people in power want to maintain because it keeps them in power. Hillary and Obama made sure to both note, in their speeches on November 9, the importance of the “peaceful transition of power” because it reassures that they and their friends keep their power and tells the people of this country to stay in line. Obama also said,
The presidency, the vice presidency is bigger than any of us…We’re actually all on one team. We’re not Democrats first. We’re not Republicans first. We’re patriots first. We all want what’s best for this country.
They have the power, and we’re all supposed to be patriots to that power. But the system is broken. What’s sad is [how similar liberals and conservatives actually are, and we don’t see it] that the people that voted for the electoral winner wanted their voice heard too — they also want an end to our broken establishment, they just expressed it differently by sticking an everyman in the eye of the government.
I think we have to try and understand many things here and the problems that we will never solve because it’s not just voters that contributed to the outcome, it’s many things, but also the reinforcement of power and the encouragement to always support that power no matter what happens.
I was worried after I shared all that with my friends that they were going to think I was justifying voters’ decision to choose a demagogue but then it became clear to me that I’m trying to put myself in their shoes and figure out what their reasoning could be if not rooted in racism, sexism, and xenophobia? Fear of job loss, fear of the control government exerts, fear of women, fear, fear, fear. Then I recalled our country’s history and realized we’re just in a colonial Petri dish. Still!
In speaking with my friend that did not vote, we discussed philosophy and our country’s colonial history. We talked about how this election outcome was no surprise; capitalism and class division have even more to do with it though we as a nation don’t talk about those things as much. She reminded me how we focus and are told to focus on identity politics which sadly divides us even more. Though our identities are very important to us: they help us categorize who we are and who we want to be. It’s a hard balance to strike, to recognize and live our identities and make choices, with that foundation in mind, that will ultimately impact the future of others who are not like us.
How do we overcome the division created by our economy and political makeup?
According to our politicians, we must unite, accept the next president and respect the power he’ll wield. I am here to say that I do not accept this outcome at all and don’t mistake that for denial. I do not accept this fascist and I will not accept what he brings to the table, and he will bring many a dead thing to the table, and not for dinner. As for uniting, that’s just not possible under an oppressive system that isolates us by its very nature. Though we can work to recognize not only our differences but our similarities and understand how they can be cultivated for the betterment of humanity. Here are my personal commitments to this country and our planet, some renewed and some new:
- I will stand alongside people of color, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, Muslims, people of all faiths, women, disabled people, disenfranchised voters, veterans and be their ally;
- I will fight to protect all people from injustice;
- I will protect the planet as best I can with the resources I have and will seek;
- I will engage in constructive dialogue and listen to all sides;
- I will volunteer for organizations I care about;
- I will vote in every single local election in my battleground state;
- I will donate to organizations that will also be fighting for these causes including but not limited to: the Boys & Girls Club of America, Friends of the Earth, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the National Immigration Law Center and Planned Parenthood;
- I will write comics that educate adults and children about the systems of oppression, tyranny, and injustice.
A while back I started reading, “On Managing Yourself” to help me “balance work, home, community and myself.” The first chapter is “How will you measure your life?” And it scared me shitless because it made me face the question and others like, “What is the purpose of my life?”
I had the answer in front of me the whole time. My purpose is to help others in any and all ways that I can. In every job or volunteer position that I have held, I have dedicated my time to service, and I will continue to do so without hesitation.
Will you join me?
*This number continues to grow as votes are still being counted as of this post’s publish date. The number of total votes does not reflect the people who experienced voter suppression or those that couldn’t or didn’t vote but may be experiencing grief as well.
One thought on “Post Election Grief and How to Move Forward”
Thank you for these compassionate thoughts and words. I needed to hear them. Xoxo