I hadn’t been able to decide what I wanted to blog about last week. Then the election happened, and it was such a surprise for me, I felt an epiphany that my indecision had created an opportunity. Then I wasn’t feeling well and that too turned out to be a blessing for it gave me some space to reflect and perhaps write something more measured and less reactive.
I woke up the morning of the election and read a post by my son-in-law on Facebook, “I can’t believe this is happening.” I didn’t know what he was referring to, but then I turned on the television and was confronted by a sea of red on the map the CNN broadcaster was referring to. I exchanged nervous texts with my daughter in Toronto who was watching the results come in. At that point a win for Hillary was still possible, yet I found myself feeling sick to my stomach.
When I found out a few hours later that Donald Trump had won the race I was walking around the mall with my good friend Kim. We, apparently like many others, felt duped. We didn’t see it coming. When Donald Trump ran as a nominee, I thought it was a joke and that surely the Republican party would never endorse him. They did. When his popularity in the polls was reported, I still didn’t feel Americans would ever vote for him. They did. So now what?
For me, it isn’t personal. It is common sense. I’m not an American.
Donald Trump doesn’t have an education or experience in politics. I wouldn’t go to a doctor who didn’t attend medical school. I wouldn’t seek expertise or advice from anyone with less wisdom than myself. And I didn’t think the American public would vote for a man who was born into wealth, who knows nothing about their economic hardships, and bottom line doesn’t have the character, integrity or know-how to be the president of any country.
Since the election I have read countless articles expressing opinions by people of various political persuasions. Some have been negative, some positive. Some have urged Democrats to be vigilant fighters for the values of their party. Others who are opposed to Republican rule encourage liberal thinkers to be passive and accept what it is. I suppose, as usual, I sit somewhere in the middle. My wish is to accept what is and at the same time use my freedom of speech to express my opinions respectfully.
An article in The New Yorker posted the doom and gloom title, “An American Tragedy.” It went on to claim that the election was a “triumph for the forces of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny and racism.” Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron urged us to “avoid the temptation to get caught up in negative and aggressive thinking, while Norman Fischer stated it was “okay to freak out, grieve and vent for a while. Then we can get back to work, as always, for the good.” Goodnewsnetwork posted an article saying, “it’s your mindset that will create your world.”
I read articles from Trump supporters who claimed they voted for him because they were tired of the status quo and being ignored by the establishment. An article in the Washington Post argued that, “If you voted for Trump because he’s anti-establishment, guess what: you got conned.” Don’t forget, this is a man who boasted of avoiding paying any taxes, brags about his extensive fortune, and basically is a part of the establishment! Regardless, to vote for and excuse someone who repeatedly makes racist and ignorant comments in the name of economic duress is irresponsible and inexcusable.
Perhaps my favourite article was the one from the Huffington Post, written by Tobias Stone, an academic and historian. He charges that “(Trump is) a charismatic narcissist who feeds on the crowd to become ever stronger, creating a cult around himself.” He further contends that humans create their own mass destruction in cycles that historians document again and again, but continue to play out nonetheless. The few people who see it coming and warn against it are dismissed as hysterical conspiracy theorists, like those who worry about Putin, Brexit and Trump.
“A nuclear explosion is not caused by one atom splitting, but by the impact of that first atom.” (Tobias Stone) A butterfly that causes an earthquake. How does one accept events like the election of Trump in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK, possible triggers to the downfall of a united humanity? The list of negatives to overcome seems to be growing and these opposing forces threaten the growing Consciousness.
“The youth collective… need to be gripped by a renewed sense of determination to try and compel change.” (Susie Abbott) I concur, and include us not so youthful inhabitants of the earth. I refuse to buy into the fear or listen to arguments based in anger and hatred with blame thrown onto the ever elusive “others.” I won’t fight hatred with hatred. I also won’t sit silently, thinking my voice can’t possibly make a difference.
In the aftermath of the election, I choose to move forward as Gandhi mandated, and be the change I wish to see in the world. I will speak up against injustice. I will speak up for human rights. I will speak with love, compassion and empathy for everyone on this planet.
So yeah, I’m feeling disappointed and discouraged over the election in the USA of Donald Trump. I’m also, eternally, a hopeful optimist.