My Progressively Bleeding Heart
Like many, I am at a loss. It is not an out-of-nowhere shock, but it feels like the polar opposite of 8 years ago: hope vs. fear.
I will not allow myself to plummet into woe-is-me territory. As an educated, straight, cisgender, white, male (a label laden with privilege and a label I am learning to understand, do not like, but am stuck with) I am likely one of the last people whom will suffer violence or harm when this new regime takes over.
I hope it turns out to be unwarranted, but:
- I have real fear for so many people who have intersections that are visible and less accepted than mine.
- I have real fear for foreign nations who are shocked by this result, and who are dependent on the low wage jobs we ‘exported’ and will likely now try and fail to bring back.
- I have real fear for all the silenced voices who lost hope long ago, saw no hope or representation in this election, and may now be closer to danger.
- I have fear that my hope is just disguised optimism - because I am afforded that luxury.
In my lifetime, I have often been paralyzed by a fear of failure. Perhaps the real fears I have today will overcome that illusionary fear, because, is there much left to lose? I am ready to Fight for Progress when I get home, and if you have ideas - even now! I was ready to fight to push Hillary Clinton, and I am dually ready with Trump.
Where do we start?
It feels like every platform I believe in was rejected by the Trump campaign and that may be true. But I must believe not everyone who voted for Trump supports every part of his platform, just like I was against much of Hillary’s (or at least wanted it to be more progressive). For liberals out there, I have heard a few interviews about the book Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild and you watch the DemocracyNow interview to the right. It may help to see some other perspectives of people who voted for Trump.
I hope we can start our conversation by making room for complexity. Sebastien Junger’s book Tribe talks about the long-held positions of conservatives not wanting to support free-loaders and liberals not wanting to let people starve (pp.126-127). He brings up the idea that we need to hold both of these ideas at the same time, making room for the complexity of the middle - which is where we can talk. Another idea he talks about is the idea of how much damage speaking about people with contempt does (pp.125-126). Speaking with contempt seems to have become ingrained into how we speak about ‘the other’ and how both liberal and conservative media describe the rich, the poor, the minority, the immigrant, the rural, the blue collar, …
But complexity is something America does not seem to do very well. We are competitive, individualist, and - dissatisfied.
On and On, Does anybody know what we are living for?
I remain ready to work together, but now progressives really have no choice. The question is will Republicans who will now control the White House, the Congress, and the Supreme Court be willing to listen? It seems to me that President Obama tried to listen in those first 2 years, but I was not really paying attention much because America had accomplished something amazing, it seemed. Hope Squandered.
Time will tell if this is a winner take all, plunder, revenge, ravage, and silence the defeated, or an America that still has room for many voices. I have fear, that a fear of losing privilege will now prevail. “When you are used to privilege, equality feels like oppression” keeps ringing in my years. I worry for those who are used to actual oppression.
After a long, emotional day where I was not mentally present for the people I am walking with, let me skip to the end or the beginning or the beginning of the end.
Long ago I remember hearing (but don’t remember where) that the rationale for our space exploration was to expand our thinking and dreaming. We had come to know more about space than our own oceans, but it was believed that looking inward at our oceans would create conceit. In the spirit of those ideas, I dream that we will listen to and welcome the voices of each “other” to erase fear and rebuild the community of our nation. And I dream that maybe our false sense of exceptionalism can now end and we can stop going to war as a result.
Keep Thailand in your thoughts. Rice prices are 1/3rd of normal and unusual harvest season rains are threatening or ruining the crops of many.