YOU ARE IN LIMBO, WILLING YOURSELF TO PULL ANSWERS OUT OF THE AETHER.
Cuts and bruises are a hazard of living with a human body. The skin can be cut or pierced or braised. It’s simultaneously a delicate and resilient organ – think of the viruses and bacteria your skin fends off every minute. Think of how your skin produces sweat to cool you down but bleeds easily, too.
What I’m saying is that you are porous and your walls are imperfect, and that is part of being human. When you woke up this morning, your first instinct was – but how ? You could debate that, numerically, the other candidate won, but our system is more complicated than this. You try to pull up some long- forgotten memory of high school, government class – the Electoral College was put in place to (attempt to) equalize representation. You remember discussing the difference between democracy and federal republic. You overlooked the truth that your country is still separated by segregation, that communities live in homogeneous spaces that lack diversity.
This race distorted and obscured reality with emotion and prejudice and was facilitated by people who aren’t forced to confront their insensitivity on a regular basis. In limbo somewhere, you will yourself to pull answers out of the aether. The truth is that a simple resolution doesn’t exist. Uncertainty weighs on you because you desperately want to know what will happen next.
The real injustice of this election is the blatant exploitation that allowed such a man to win. He tapped into the anger and frustration many working-class citizens feel – the inability to find fair work that will provide a decent quality of life for their families. He appealed to their fear of the unknown. In hard economic times, the promises of ruthless men are likely to be heard. You struggle with feeling angry at the people you know who voted for the antagonist. Some of them raised you. They heard a promise, and
they so desperately wished it were true. They are frustrated about bills despite the long hours they put in and the banks that are fat cats nobody can do anything about. They’re embarrassed and confused and ashamed. For you, reading this, you knew this man wasn’t going to help.
You have a right to hold friends and family accountable but please do talk to them. Tell the why they voted wrong. Talk about institutions that work in nuanced, barely perceptible ways to oppress people. Don’t forget that people who are struggling to put food on the table and work 60-hour weeks are exhausted. They don’t have the energy to be up-to-date with the current dialogues about sexual assault, race and sustainability. Many have never had someone encourage them to ask these questions before.
In some countries, a radical politician might be quickly and quietly “silenced.” Governments are run with a military dictator sitting in the high chair after a coup left the last president dead. The only programming on television is state-sanctioned, and journalists taking photos or writing articles about forbidden subjects face imprisonment and execution. I don’t say these things to say, look at all these other places that have it so much worse. I’m saying this because in these places live breathing people, and some of them are still doing incredible things. They refuse to let big business or corrupt politicians take their power away from them.
You are at work later this afternoon, and a coworkers’ voice cuts through the somber atmosphere and lonely din of shuffling papers, “if you’re not white, straight and male, you woke up today told that you don’t matter.”
Survival instinct is, however, another side-effect of being human. Taking back your own power, by no means, is easy but still necessary at the same time. This disaster of an election leaves you traumatized or lost. Uncertainty is an eerie emotion, a directionless posture where you stand with a gaping mouth trying in vain to articulate your thoughts. You think about rolling up the pride flag displayed in your window. Logically, this should’ve never happened. This man should not be leading a country, but you underestimate emotion and false promises. These thoughts are valid – allow yourself to feel them. Allow your friends to navigate their emotions, check-in with them, and when you’re ready, get back into the studio or practice space or your desk. Write, play music and paint. What I’m saying is – please don’t let this man take your power away from you.