From Pain to Action
“Move on.” “Just get over it.” “Enough already.” These lovely tidbits are examples of “advice,” usually unsolicited, as if emotions have an on/off switch. Such counsel is rarely useful in any situation, including for how millions of us feel about our recent Presidential election. Horrified, angry social media posts and street protests are the external signs of the pain, stress, and fear we feel for our country, each other, and ourselves. Our pain is not because we lost, albeit disappointing, but because of the hate that was spewed by the President-elect and his supporters during the election, and has only accelerated ever since. What our “advice” givers don’t seem to understand about our grief is this election was not about Democrats v. Republicans, Left v. Right, or Liberalism v. Conservatism. Our choice was between democracy v. fascism, about inclusiveness v. racism, misogyny, homophobia, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism. It was about saving animals and the environment. As corny as it sounds, it really was about love v. hate.
Fascism thrives on division and hate, about not seeing ourselves in others. Empathy dies. Society becomes Us v. Them. We blame the “others” for our difficulties. Blame turns into anger. Anger turns into violence. Violence turns into the unthinkable. History is evidence of how quickly this process happens, like a wildfire in a dry Bavarian forest.
What is our antidote to this pain, this fear, this mourning for the country we knew? Action. It’s using OUR Constitutional rights to protest, defend, and protect one another. It’s speaking up and speaking out. It’s the coming together of those of us who didn’t drink the Kool-Aid, who can’t bear to live in a country of hateful people. It’s planning and uniting, protecting and demanding.
Being in action, no matter how large or small a step, helps others and, equally important, helps us to feel more in control. This is also an act of love – for other humans, non-humans, and Mother Earth. “Love conquers all” or “love trumps hate” are lovely mottos, but their power lies in action. Let’s turn that love and caring for one another into concrete steps. Get involved. Volunteer. Join an organization. Call and write ALL your elected leaders regardless of party affiliation. They need to know we’re listening, watching, and we vote.
So, shut out the voices telling you to stop being a sore loser and “buck up.” Save your precious energy for positive actions. Together we can work to move forward, or at the very least, prevent sliding too far backward.
Feel whatever it is you’re feeling. There is no right or wrong emotion right now. But while we’re working through our pain, let’s get to work on saving our democracy. We know there is no “us v. them,” only “we.”
Let’s link arms and dive in. I’ll give you a hug when I see you along the way.