I can’t bear to talk about the past today because I am too filled with despair about the future. I have spent the day mourning the election results and reaching out to others who shared my desolation. I have found myself again and again in tears, sometimes tears of grief for what has happened to our country, sometimes tears of relief when someone has touched me with words of comfort or hope.
In the aftermath of the election results, my daughter shared this photograph of my grandsons. It made me smile and cry. It represents all my hopes and all my fears.
I have gone through at least the first few stages of grief—shock and denial, anger, and now depression. (I skipped over bargaining, although I did find myself last night saying I’d accept a tie in the Electoral College).
Here’s what I posted on Facebook early Wednesday morning:
I am devastated. Don’t tell me it will all be okay. Don’t tell me to unite behind Trump. It won’t, and I won’t.
I am devastated for my daughters and all the women who believed that America would elect a highly qualified woman over an inexperienced and ignorant man.
I am devastated for all in the LGBTQ community who must see the progress of recent years hanging by a thread.
I am devastated for all people of color, all immigrants, all Muslims, who must feel even more frightened than I do.
I am devastated for those who will see their health insurance disappear.
I am devastated for our planet, which will now see nothing done about climate change.
I am devastated that nothing will be done about gun violence.
I could go on. But mostly I am devastated that my grandsons live in a country filled with so much hate and ignorance.
They say the next stage of grief is acceptance. I won’t get to that one. What I hope I can get to is action to fight acceptance. We need people to unite against these forces of darkness, to work together to protect the rights of those who are most vulnerable, to preserve our rights to choice and to healthcare, to work to protect our planet and the values of free speech, freedom of religion, and freedom from discrimination. I fear we will instead drift into acceptance.
I admit that I have no idea how we start this movement. I am hoping that someone with more skills and experience than I have will get us mobilized. Perhaps it will be some of those who felt the Bern, perhaps some of those who fought so hard for Hillary. Or perhaps it will be someone entirely new.
I want to be a part of whatever it takes to make this country a place where those two little boys pictured above and all those who come after them can grow up without fear and filled with love and hope and acceptance of all people. Where everyone can, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, age, or disability.
As my husband said, our ancestors didn’t come here so that we could give up on our dreams. We need to mourn first and then pick ourselves up and fight for what we believe.