Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Morning After. . .


 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 . . .
Take care, all of you. . .

38 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post, Frances. Like so many others, I am in shock. And terrified for the most vulnerable, and for all of us. I am not even capable of thinking right now.

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  2. I spent most of the night dealing with such a physically sickening knot of dread in my belly. Its still there and is starting to feel permanent. Thank you for these positive and practical thoughts.

    ceci

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  3. Huge shock and fear here. Brexit with a nuclear option. No wonder the Canadian immigration website crashed towards dawn. I applaud your intention to make a difference, however small. It's what I said to myself after Brexit that I would do, and I haven't. It is all too easy to go on as before until there isn't a 'before' left.

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  4. Disbelief is my main emotion right now, 'a joke candidate' I said to myself all those months ago, never for a second entertaining this outcome. Brexit here in UK, Trump in USA (Brexit x 1000 as someone commented this morning on the radio). Love and beauty must continue. Fill out individual hearts with kindness. Read, think, look at art, what else can we all do x

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  5. I'm up entirely too early, thinking about the results. What will happen? As you've eloquently reminded us, change comes in small increments and we must embrace those who are marginalized and and threatened. I pray for courage and strength. And love. A wonderful, thoughtful post, Mater.

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  6. Checks and balances will be needed, indeed. It is shocking!

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  7. It's devastating, no question about it. The ramifications are huge for all the groups you mentioned. I don't even know what else to say; it's just a very, very sad day.

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  8. A devastating day indeed. After the shock of Brexit, I thought surely not again? Surely a candidate of so little stature, experience, intelligence, moral standing could not win. But he did. And I felt that in his acceptance speech he demonstrated that he will not listen to his wiser counsel - an evidently scripted tribute to Hillary Clinton descended into a rambling series of promises which were - to employ his most used word - unbelievable. The ramifications are huge for us all.

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  9. Yet again, shock and disbelief. But also hope, because you have to have hope x

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  10. Emotional,cordial,warm post
    I am wordless ( and not because it is Wednesday )....thinking again about Voltaire: "Common sense is not so common", as we think
    Hugs,
    Dottoressa

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  11. I wonder how our embarrassing foreign secretary, Boris Johnson will get on with this embarrassing president . We live in interesting times indeed .
    Wendy in York

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  12. I am sitting here in shock this morning and wonder what will happen to individual freedom in America...how will Trumps victory will affect the world?
    It is a day of uncertainty...perhaps one of many days ahead...we heard that the Canadian immigration website crashed.
    I have a date with some little ones today so there will be fun and games and hugs...not trying to put my head in the sand but trying to keep calm and carry on.
    Volunteering sounds like a great place to put your energy when you get back from your holiday in France.

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  13. Like everyone I am in shock too. We all laughed at him thinking that the worst would not happen. How wrong . 2016 is a very strange year indeed. As you say ,we all need to look out for others and hope the checks are in place to stop him doing anything too enormous. Keep deep breathing and enjoying those beautiful views. B xx

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  14. Obviously, we all underestimated the amount (and intensity) of hatred and resentment among the voting population in the US. And not only there, as right-wing movements with xenophobic and racist tendencies are springing up all over Europe. Closer to home – for me - is what is happening in Turkey these days, where the president is wiping out any legal opposition as well as abolishing press freedom. I agree with your friend: those of us lucky enough to live in a democratic society have the obligation to offer shelter to those who need it, and also, equally important, make sure that their own democracy keeps functioning.
    A couple of weeks ago I joined an organization in my federal state which defends refugees in various ways – through legal counsel, information of the public and stepping up against all forms of xenophobia. It has already turned out to be quite a lot of work, but I feel that I am doing the right thing.

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  15. My analytical mind is working well to try to figure out how to talk to my students about this election -- especially in the class on Women and Politics -- but my heart and soul are wounded and scared. He has no appreciation of government or how to govern, so we can only hope that he finds some wise teachers and listens to them. I do find joy in the fact that many of my friends and colleagues are already making plans to support progressive causes and work to heal the societal divisions that are so evident. It's heartbreaking to think that this was the first election most of my students could vote, and I hope they will not be turned off by the outcome. Many thanks for a beautiful post.

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  16. Your comments and walk-in-the-park photos are much appreciated. Seeing that Marine Le Pen was the first to tweet her félicitions and to declare the American people libre was appalling. But the knowledge that the U.S. is about evenly split is really the food for thought--and for action.

    "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice"

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  17. Thank you for your post, Frances. I am in the US and am devastated. It's bad enough that a guy who routinely makes racist and misogynistic comments was elected President, what makes me despair is knowing that a lot of his supporters voted for him BECAUSE of that. And as an educated woman who is not a 10, I feel like half of my country sees me as unimportant. Still, I hope Trump does something good because God help us if he can't.

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  18. This was a wakeup call re: that "incremental creep of tolerance"(intolerance?). Passive resistance isn't enough; building a better world requires creative action, like your volunteer projects.

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  19. I love this post. Yes, change is like grains of sand. We must be alert and continue pushing for positive change. I still can't believe what happened though.

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  20. Thank you for the post. I am in US and am devasted that this could happen. I am ashamed of my fellow Americans, especially the white women, that voted for intolerance, sexism, misogyny, rudeness, incivility. People have been saying all day that people were fed up with government as it is. I don't think that is the case, I think people wanted to be able to express their biases and intolerance freely and we now have a leader that makes that acceptable. God bless all of us!

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  21. I've been mostly shut down today, trying to process, trying not to imagine the worst (though it doesn't take much imagination...) There's a lot of chatter about what do we DO??? but a post on Michael Moore's FB page helped clarify things for me. We need to hold our Democratic legislators' collective feet to the fire to actually be the Loyal Opposition and not just to roll over. Hillary won the popular vote, so this isn't a landslide, it isn't a "mandate." But we're going to have to be vigilant, and fight to hold every inch of ground.

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    1. Here, here, Susan!

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    2. Another Oregonian...you are not alone!

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  22. I so agree. Isn't it time that we all become "nasty women"? Because "nasty" "difficult" women get things done. They do all the hard unglorified work which gets things done - the right things.
    The things that matter and that others need and so I think now I have to start to find a way to be a really nasty woman, ---- vigilant, fighting, volunteering -- whatever action is required to demonstrate that making this world better must be done with love.

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  23. I am a US, as well as Canadian citizen- and this is not the outcome I wanted. It may cause a resurgence of local, community activism, as you plan on return. Lending a hand, noticing what needs to be done. There is a whole life outside electoral politics, but we need also be alert to what can happen under the force of law.

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  24. A most peculiar and unsettling 24 hours. I find it rather hard to get my head around some of the reactions - esp. the one that says we should have realised just how people felt disenfranchised. But in the West, where we emphasise independence, responsibility, autonomy, surely the disenfranchised need to ask themselves - what was I promised and why did I think I could have it? Also: how much have I contributed to my feeling of not belonging? You cannot pride yourself on being free and, at the same time, say that you were duped.

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  25. I am devastated but beginning to gain strength. We thought the unthinkable couldn't happen but it did.. so what is next? Remember half this country does not accept that hatred. Not a time to stick our heads in the sand. Mater, you are an intelligent woman as are your readers. I welcome sharing ideas on how we can organize and support each other as these changes occur. Love to all.

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  26. I, too, am in shock. There's a sick knot in my gut. But I keep remembering Leonard Cohen's wonderful lyrics to his song "Anthem", and am trying to go forward in focused calm and hope.
    "Anthem"

    The birds they sang
    at the break of day
    Start again
    I heard them say
    Don't dwell on what
    has passed away
    or what is yet to be.
    Ah the wars they will
    be fought again
    The holy dove
    She will be caught again
    bought and sold
    and bought again
    the dove is never free.

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

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  27. Thank you for such a thoughtful post. I took heart from this letter Aaron Sorkin wrote to his daughters. http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/11/aaron-sorkin-donald-trump-president-letter-daughter

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    1. Funny - I was thinking today that if we have to have a television personality as president, I'd much rather have Martin Sheen. My son and I had been watching a West Wing episode every evening, but since the other night we can't stand the thought of watching it.

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  28. I'm pretty much devastated. Devastated, in the way that makes you know you have to fight.

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    1. I've been thinking about the best way to fight back. Taking action will have to wait a few months as I am now constantly traveling back and forth to my job 200 miles away, and looking for a house there. I think that I will find a way to help immigrants as they are probably the most vulnerable. I joined the Young Turks, as I believe that traditional media is in part to blame for this travesty, and independent media will be crucial in the coming months and years.

      For the first time ever, yesterday I found myself regretting having had children. I don't, really, but it makes me sick that we now live in a country where truly repugnant behavior has been validated and rewarded in a really major way.

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  29. Thanks for all your comforting and powerful and appreciative and poignant responses to my post. Much as they warmed and encouraged me -- solidarity! -- I have to be honest and say that I was overwhelmed at the thought of answering them all carefully. And then -- and I hope this is okay -- I realised that the comments don't require a response. They are entirely sufficient, each one and every one, without my response. I'm so pleased to have elicited them and to have provided space for them, but I don't think this is really about me, and not just because it's too much physical and emotional work, I'm going to leave them stand just as they are. But do feel free to answer each other, as some of you are already. I think I've said as much as I can in the post. Thanks for understanding.

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  30. Quite right, Mater. We all respond to the election result in different ways and it is sufficient, as you say, to have enabled us to express our reactions amongst friends.

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  31. I just dropped back in for a dose of calm and quiet. My post on "Coping with Stress" has been a bit stressful. Ha How ironic. I've had a few chiding (and one vitriolic) comment because I mentioned that the election results added to my stress this week. I was a bit worried that those readers had also commented over here, since I linked my post to yours. Nope. All is good. And calm. Maybe I'll stick around for a bit. xo

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  32. It's good to know I'm not alone in my feelings. I live in the US and I'm in the heart of Trump-land. They are afraid - and that is how Hitler got himself elected not so long ago.

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  33. I haven't read this post untill now, nearly a week after the election. Living on the other side of the Atlantic I am devasted and disgusted that this could happen. It is a huge step back. You can put it into Words so much better than I can. Thank you for that.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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