Friday, November 11, 2016

Further reflections on election day and beyond

I’ve had some time to digest the events of this week, and I’m feeling better. Not good, of course, but better. Here’s why:

I’ve decided to limit my consumption of “news” and “analysis.” No organization is very good at either, and I don’t need more stimulation of my reptilian brain. I do very well at making myself a nervous wreck. The last thing I need is help.

I’ve going to divert my attention to things that make me feel better. I fully realize that The Affordable Healthcare Act is doomed. That Planned Parenthood will lose its federal funding. That services for the poor and the marginalized will be cut. That tax breaks for those who don’t need them will skyrocket, and that those who can least afford to pay more will be forced to. But…I can’t make those certainties not happen. Watching carefully as everything I care about is gleefully dismantled is something I have no stomach for. 

Instead, I’m going to take the money I gain from having my taxes lowered and give it to organizations that I support. Organizations that are true to the values I hold dear. I’ve just got to find a way to give without having them know who I am, as they’ll start covering me with emails telling me the sky is falling. It’s already fallen.

Longer term, I’m going to try to find and support organizations that work to reach people who feel their votes don’t matter/don’t count. People like Colin Kaepernick. People who are profoundly unhappy with America, yet won’t take a half hour to cast a ballot. I don’t believe these folks are lazy. I believe they’ve lost all hope of change and firmly believe the system I believe in is a Potemkin Village. We’ve got to find a way to reach these people if we ever want a Democratic majority again.

I’m going to continue to limit my consumption of social media. I need to work on being optimistic, and reading how unhappy everyone is isn’t in my best interests.

Lastly, I’m going to acknowledge that someone I intensely dislike is my president. I believe in democracy—even when my side doesn’t win.

This Veterans Day, we should not only acknowledge the sacrifices so many men and women have made to keep this country safe and whole. We should remember that as a nation we’ve survived some very dark times. It’s going to be a very tough few years, but I believe we’ll make it if we as individuals support and care for each other—even if the government tries to cull those who most need its help.