I’ve normally considered this blog to be a space safe from nasty election cycle rhetoric (if not from nasty women). I mostly write about places I’ve been and people I’ve met and things I like to do outside, because usually, someone else is articulating the way I feel about the world better than I can. But this is not “politics,” and the values we, outdoorspeople, hold nearest and dearest are under direct threat by a newly-elected president who believes climate change is a hoax.
So. This is a little different than what I usually post, but I couldn’t bring myself to publish my scheduled tongue-in-cheek musings about running an ultramarathon as my country stands at the threshold of an Orwellian alternate universe.
I can’t say much that hasn’t already been said more eloquently than I can say it. I look at my friends’ smart, capable daughters, little girls who don’t yet understand what’s going on, and it feels like too much to bear. I can’t stand that they were born at a time when their country would rather elect a hateful xenophobe who hasn’t paid taxes in decades—let alone ever held a public office—than put a woman in the Oval Office. I want to explain to them that I’m so sorry, that I should have done more, that they deserve better; that, I, too, am ashamed, disgusted, horrified.
I’m giving myself today, the day after the election, to grieve the loss of the country I thought I lived in, though if I really think about it, things haven’t been good for a long time. Sure, I remain proud to have cast my first presidential vote for Barack Obama (and I voted for him again four years later), but I can’t sing Pollyanna about the last decade, either: How many young black men have to be gunned down by police before we demand social change?
But I’m not ready to start drafting my dystopian novel yet. I want, desperately, to believe that this turn of events will spark a revolution.
It’s shameful that electing this monster to be our next president is what it took to get white liberals here, but we can’t go back—I’m afraid there will be enough turning back of the clock in the coming years. All we can do, now, is pick ourselves up and fight the good fight. It’s going to mean getting off our asses—not just posting on Facebook or writing self-indulgent blog posts—and showing up at protests and marching in the streets and demanding, in a real and tangible way, democracy. It’s going to mean confronting our discomfort and being actual allies to people of color, to the LGBT+ community, to people who aren’t the beneficiaries of systemic racism and misogyny.
We have a lot of work to do, and it’s going to be hard. But we’re going to do it.