Well, the last few weeks have been a kick in the face, but I’m back now. I have felt behind of everything (three weeks without a computer is sort of tough when all of your jobs require one) and with the election last week, my heart has been hurting. I’m still pissed, and constantly searching for the right words. I don’t necessarily have them yet, but I’m up for giving it a shot.
I think anger is a good thing. When anger is used in the right way, it’s the coolest and strongest tool to hold. Anger is responsible for some of the biggest movements, most amazing art, and actual change. Anger is motivation, and can be the best way to stay focused. I’m all for it. The “make yourself happy” and “focus on the good in the world” doesn’t totally work for me. It feels like a way to ignore problems for the sake of self-preservation, and denying a voice to the issues at hand right now seems like a bad call.
What I am not into, is using anger as an excuse for idiocy. That’s sort of how we got here, right?
I was in Portland last weekend to celebrate the fact that I can now see some of my favorite girls from college. There were babies and weddings and cuddle puddles to tend to, but a mile away, protests raged into riots and people were hurt, property was intentionally destroyed and the message of the protest was lost among the chaos. I love a good peaceful protest, and have been a sign-toting part of many, but I feel this one did more damage than good.
As we played wedding shower games and drank before noon, we also talked of the surprise, disappointment and deep sadness that we all felt over the election. This group of west-coast, educated, and generally privileged white ladies did not see this coming, based on that list of attributes. As Samantha Bee pointed out, in words I wish I had come up with, “What we did, was the democratic equivalent of installing an above-ground pool; even if we’re lucky and it doesn’t seep into our foundations, the neighbors will never look at us the same way again.” Do yourself a favor and watch that clip, and hear the message, and hold it close.
If you are angry, and I am angry, try doing something that actually moves your cause in the right direction. Donate your time and money to these organizations, because they will really need your help the next few years. Listen to the Hamilton soundtrack, and get all kinds of inspired by Lin Manuel Miranda’s smart, cutting, beautiful words. Donate to Planned Parenthood in Mike Pence’s name. I just did and it felt pretty good. Take yourself to the gym, boxing class, or yoga studio and work that shit out. Exercise calms me down, and helps chill the anxiety monster that gets in the way of getting things done. When fighting the bad guy/system, you want to be calm and angry. You want to be that quiet, creepy angry, that makes the bad guy nervous and unsure of your strength.
If you are not angry, and you see this outcome as a win, you might want to think about what all of this means for women, immigrants, the planet, LGBT communities, and the spirit of this country and our place in the world. If you are cool with the insane level of hateful, racist, sexist, fear-mongering rhetoric that got us here, the empowerment of white supremacy, and the condoned violence toward pretty anyone who is not a white man, then we have a problem.
I am not a therapist or revolution strategist, I am a woman with a few half-jobs and an air mattress, trying to get her shit together. But I honestly do believe that there is still more good than bad, more smart than complacent, and more kind than fearful. I think the next few years will show what kind of power we have in the face of a whole bucket of hate. We have a lot of power that we haven’t tapped into, and if we can manage to make a Snapchat filter that makes grown-ass people look like bunny rabbits, and then convince people to put their bunny-rabbit-looking selves on the internet, then we can organize ourselves and get some good shit done.
My friend Lydia posted something that gave me a bit of solace last week:
Voldemort infiltrated the ministry of magic, but that’s not how that story ended.
Remember that this is not normal. This whole pile of awful sucks, but we can dig ourselves out of it, and we have to put in work.
I leave you with John Oliver, because that is the best thing I can think to do.