It is 2:30 on the East Coast, and this presidential race seems all but called for the candidate I never seriously imagined might win. For millions of people like me who believe he is unqualified, xenophobic and has the potential to lead our country off a cliff, this is a terrifying and terrible moment.
But, strangely, I am filled with a great calm. Not because I don’t think this is as bad as all that. On the contrary, I believe we’ll be feeling the fall-out from this for decades. But because I believe in resilience. Because I believe in goodness. Because I believe that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.
The fact that we elected a man who said and did all the horrific things that this man has said and done, who has held no elective or military post is unprecedented in our history. That he has empowered bigots to come out into the light and marginalized people of color is a wound that will take a generation or more to heal. But I am not bowed. I am blowing in his hurricane, bending but not breaking.
Tomorrow I write more. I tell more stories about good winning against evil. I tell my children that a setback means you try harder. I try to be kinder, and I don’t get shouted down when I call out hatred or ignorance. I look for ways I can help organize on a local level. I remind everyone I know that four years is a short and survivable time. I turn off the T.V. and go for a good, long walk in this beautiful city I’m visiting.
Make no mistake – I think there are parallels to Germany of 1933 not just here, but as a ripple around the world. The status quo is not happy to be challenged. Forces of oppression and a dictatorial bent are in ascendancy. Throughout human history, that has often meant terrible things. But we should not let that scare us, but invigorate us. Hate and misogyny and bullying and lying will never win, even when they seem to be having a temporary victory. Let this embolden us.
I never allowed myself to believe this might happen. It seemed much too far-fetched. But life sometimes deals us the most unexpected blows. How we get back up is what makes us who we are. Let’s get back up proud and strong and face the day with dignity and hope. We are better than this moment. Tomorrow the work begins.
Hugs and hope to you all.