I know I said I wasn’t going to write anything – that I was shutting down. Even as I write this a part of me says I shouldn’t be, that my emotions are still raw. But the writer, the activist in me has been begging to say something and to express. I’m not sure which part of me to obey right now, so I’m going to write… and maybe hit the “publish” button, maybe not.
If you’re reading this, I guess I made a decision.
I stumbled at one point upon a short piece by the writers of Parks & Recreation. It was an encouragement to me because it expressed something that I didn’t know I was feeling. It mentioned the 5 stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. I had no idea that what I was feeling was grief. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt grief before, to be honest. I’ve never really lost someone close to me, so I really had no reference point. But as “Leslie” described the five stages I recognized each one.
And at this point I want to recognize something. I’m a white, male cisgender Christian. Any grief or fear that I feel right now is only a drop in a bucket compared to the living hell that some of my fellow American citizens are preparing to live through. I don’t know how I’m going to be able to help, but I’m going to read, listen and learn how. I will help.
“North Carolina and Florida are just playing with us. Give it an hour and they’ll turn blue again.” “Pennsylvania isn’t really that close. They’ve only counted the rural areas so far” “California will jump start us. Gotta wait for that. Oregon too.” “I’m just going to put my phone down and have a drink. If I don’t look at it, it really isn’t happening”
“The Church did this to us!” “My fellow white people did this to us!” “White women voted this way?!” “I’m ashamed of my country” “Most of all, how DARE you people?!” “I want to hit something”
“Well, the popular vote obviously went our way.” “Maybe if we’re able to convince enough electors to go against the principles of their office” “What if maybe he didn’t mean all those things and it’s going to be ok” “The Senate isn’t as lopsided as it was, maybe that’ll help”
“No” “I don’t know what I’m going to do now” “What’s going to happen to my family?” “What’s going to happen to my friends?” “How are we going to live with this?” “All this work is going to be destroyed” “I’ve failed as an activist” “I should have done more.” “I should have said more”
And here’s the stage I’m slowly transitioning to right now. Acceptance. Accepting that my nation allowed this to happen. Accepting that this is really occurring. Accepting that there are enough people in this country that are fine with this. Accepting that… accepting that many of my friends are fine with this.
That’s the bitter pill for me, and I’m not even part of an oppressed class. I’m a white Christian cismale, which is as privileged as it comes, and I’m still having trouble accepting this.
I don’t blame the appx. 50% of the country who didn’t vote. That’s SOP when it comes to the United States.
I don’t blame the Democrat party for putting Hillary Clinton on their ticket. I’m not convinced Bernie Sanders would have done any differently in the face of the political and sociological force we saw last Tuesday.
I don’t blame the low turnout from minorities. Communities that have been targeted for voter suppression for decades are not at fault for being unsuccessful in fighting the privileged class.
I don’t blame the people who voted 3rd party. Honestly if they were forced to vote for one of the two, they could have gone either way, and it would have probably been a wash. The beauty of our system is that they weren’t, and they didn’t, and it wasn’t.
No, I blame the people who walked into a voting booth and checked the box, or pressed the button, or touched the circle next to the name Donald Trump. I blame the people who looked at the two major candidates and decided that of those choices Donald Trump was the lesser of two evils. These are the people who brought this upon us.
It is difficult, but I am slowly beginning to accept that I am surrounded by people who did this. Many people I know have selected this man to lead them. Many people I know have sorted through their priorities and been led to vote in this way. A voice inside of them that they believe is their conscience told them to do this, and I have to sit here and accept that.
I have to accept it, even though it breaks my trust as a father of girls. I am now faced with the knowledge that my girls may not be safe around people I previously trusted. Folks that I have to rely on to step in if my girls are bullied or assaulted have shown by their vote that they aren’t near as concerned about that as I am.
This is frightening to me. I took for granted that my loved ones were surrounded by people who cared for them. I can’t assume that anymore. About anybody. This was earth-shattering, and it is going to take a long time to build that trust back up.
But slowly, these friends will do just that. I know in my mind that they aren’t bullies. They aren’t ugly. They may have chosen leaders who scare the hell out of me, but I have the hope that they will hold these leaders accountable in areas where I hope to God we agree. I hope they will stand between their “lesser of two evils” and the people that evil seeks to oppress. I hope they will continue to work for equality, for the rights of everyone. I have that hope.
But this hope is in my head, not my heart. At least not yet. And it takes a long, long time to restore this kind of trust.
A really, really long time.
Some good resources I’ve found so far:
- I’ll add more as I find them…