Four grown kids, five delightful grandchildren, constant, long-time partner. A retired academic, I'm adapting to life in a Vancouver condo after decades in a waterfront home on a very small (Canadian) West Coast island. Keen to discover what new priorities emerge, what interests persist, in this urban life after 60!
A dear friend, ex-neighbour, truly beautiful spirit of a wise woman, posted a Heart on her Facebook wall this morning, no accompanying text, just a message of love to the world. . . I saw it not long after waking up to find how devastatingly that world has changed. I realise it's entirely possible that some visitors here might be exultant over that change, and I think little good could come of us debating that here.
But I couldn't let this huge change go unacknowledged, and there's no point pretending any equanimity about it: I'm devastated, and I'm fearful, and, at the moment, I'm far from home, albeit with my one dearest beloved. Together, we've been watching Un Village Français, a compelling, often draining, television series about life in an occupied French village during World War II. The questions of ethics, of the relative values of collaboration, the limited but creative large and small possibilities for resistance, the quotidian, incremental creep of tolerance of what would once have been abhorrent.
It's hard not to see parallels, to wonder what changes will be wrought under a new regime. Because of the way incremental change happens, I won't be chastised by those who question the scale of my comparison.
But if small increments can make a difference, I'm going to take my friend's heart, well, take it to heart. An American academic FB friend listed those who were now feeling threatened, post-election: the LGBTQ community, Muslims, immigrants, women, prime among those, and of the comments responding to her Status Update, one in particular struck me. It said, eloquently, "May we all make our best efforts to be safe harbours for the people who need them."
It seems that this is a time that the US's political system of checks and balances will be seriously tested, and I hope those will prove effective to some degree. But in the meanwhile, as a Canadian indirectly but significantly affected by this result, I'm challenging myself to find ways to do more to work for a better world. Not sure how that will play out, but I have some volunteer projects to sort out when I get back home. I'll do some thinking about how politically active I can be or what other options exist for contributing meaningfully, but I'm also thinking about how to nurture beliefs and values in inimical political realities.
So I'm warmed by the Hearts on my FB page, heartened to see how many saddened, disgusted, enraged, and discouraged voters nonetheless managed to Tweet and Facebook and Instagram their ongoing commitment to progressive politics. I'm hopeful that will mean something as we learn what this new terrain might be.
For now, far from home, no grandkids to cuddle, trying not to worry about their future, I'll walk in the park instead, walk and walk and walk . . .