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Post-Election Thoughts, WTF Do We Do Now?

Friends, I am grieving. And I need a little time. Please do not say that I am exaggerating or need to stop my liberal, poor-loser whining. I know what grieving feels like. I have survived the death of loved ones, 9/11, the loss of a business I was passionate about, and almost lost a marriage. I know what pain is. I have been to quite a bit of therapy. I am well aware of the stages of the grieving process.

Many of us are going through this. If you are too, I recommend this article on post-election grief over at the Huffington Post.

Please do not tell us to just get over it (we can’t), stop our complaining (we won’t), or hope for the best (we don’t). I for one, am pretty low on hope right now. I believe that some of us may get there eventually, but we need time. I’ve moved through shock and anger, and am on to depression. I’m making progress. Yay!

One of the most painful things to me as a mom, was watching the reaction of my kids. My daughter cried herself to sleep on election night while my son was completely shut down and silent. He didn’t need to say anything. I could see the despair in his eyes. I am doing everything I can to support them, give them perspective and hope, and ease their fears – while at the same time, downplaying my own feelings for their sake.

This is not about party or politics. This is about who we are as a country, what we stand for, and the leadership that we show the world. I read a New York Times article this morning, and this quote by its author, Charles M. Blow, sums up my feelings perfectly –

“It is hard to know specifically how to position yourself in a country that can elect a man with such staggering ineptitude and open animus. It makes you doubt whatever faith you had in the country itself.”

Right now, I feel lost, unsafe, and scared. And I’m a white woman in suburban Orange County. I can’t even imagine how African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, LGBTQs, immigrants and people with disabilities are feeling.

This article, entitled “Farewell America” says this better than I can –

“We all knew these hatreds lurked under the thinnest veneer of civility. That civility finally is gone. In its absence, we may realize just how imperative that politesse was. It is the way we managed to coexist.”

This is real friends. Already, there are reports of Muslim and Latino students in California being harassed, an Asian-American woman attacked by a Trump supporter in Minnesota,and a swastika and a message of Make America White Again spray painted on a baseball field in New York. If you can stomach more, see this collection of Twitter posts, “Day 1 in Trump’s America“.

So as much as I want to curl up in the fetal position and drink Cabernet until the pain goes away, I can not. Not for me, not for my children, and not for all of those who are vulnerable and have been marginalized and demonized by the President-elect.

After we move through the stages of grief, exercise some self-care, bury our feelings in too many bowls of ice cream, and hug our families, we have got to take action. It’s time to step it up friends.

This election has changed me. Scarred me permanently. But it has also woken me up to how much work we still have to do in this country. I am now and will forever be an activist – not the previous activist that I thought I was – volunteer-for-some-causes, donate-money-to-some-charities, and try-to-influence-a-few-friends type of activist. Rather I am becoming a no-holds-barred, I-will-shout-from-the-rooftops, I-don’t-care-if-I-lose-friends activist. F*ck this shit! This. Must. Stop.

Here are some of the things I plan to do for now. I hope some of you will consider joining me:

  • Continue to foster a home environment that promotes tolerance, acceptance, understanding and love. I would rather that my children grow up to be kind, than get in to Harvard or make a bunch of money. In our home, we will talk more about our shared values, and how we can love and accept and reach out to those who are not like us. This is a good article to discuss at the post-election dinner table –  “What Do We Tell The Children“.
  • Volunteer in my local community to support causes that matter to me. Not volunteer just around the holidays or when it is convenient. I will find a cause and devote time to it – weekly.
  • Speak out whenever I see (either in person or online) racism, bigotry, misogyny, or hate against any individual or group of people. I believe that now, we must radiate goodness and kindness from the bottom up. I do not see that it will be modeled at the top anytime soon. We must be the change. Now more than ever.
  • Read and reread, and read again this article from Mother Jones, “Don’t Mourn, Fight Like Hell“. From this piece – “Trump appealed to America’s worst impulses. Now it’s on the rest of us to show, to prove, that this is not all that America is. This is a time when we’re called on to do things we may not have done before. To face down bigotry and hate, and to reach beyond our Facebook feeds in trying to do so.”
  • Seek to understand those who feel differently and think differently. I am trying, like really trying. It is hard. I’m not going to lie. But in the end, I strive to understand the pain, the hopelessness, the anger – that makes someone support this man. I will not shame them. I will seek to find common ground. Even if they don’t do the same in return. It’s the only way to get through and out of this mess. This piece was helpful for me, “Stop Shaming Trump Supporters“.
  • Join and donate to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). They do good work to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Their work is more important than ever.
  • Join and donate to Emily’s List, an organization dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to office.
  • Check out this list of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry organizations.
  • Volunteer and donate to environmental causes. The earth (and all of those who live here) is going to need all the help she can get fighting a president who believes climate change is a “hoax”. I recommend the 350.org, the National Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club for a start.

Let this election enrage but also motivate us. That is the one and only silver lining I can find.

Let’s do more, fight harder, be louder, and be the change. Most importantly, let us spread love and light and tolerance to all people who we touch. We can be the change. Now more than ever, we must be the difference. It is the only chance we have. I hope you will join me.

So for now, we love, love, and love some more. Not a weak and passive love. A love that is strong – that can move mountains. A love that stands up for Americans – all Americans. In my heart, I truly believe … we are stronger together.

love

 

 

 

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Fake Patriotism Makes Me Cringe

I have had this fire lit under me lately about the what I call “fake patriotism” and I can’t take it anymore people. Not. One. More. Day – I’m done.

I am so incredibly sick of the “you have to have ten million American flags flying onstage”, “you have to stand and have your hand over your heart at all times when the anthem is playing”, “when I was a kid we said the pledge in school every day” movements I CAN NOT TAKE IT anymore.

First and foremost, let me get this out of the way – KIDS STILL SAY THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE EVERY SINGLE DAY. Yep, every day. At school. The one that says “one nation under God.”  My kids have said it every single day of grade school, junior high, and high school – both public and private schools. EVERY DAY!! So please stop with your “our nation would be saved if only kids said the pledge every day” memes. You know, these ones –

predgeofallegiance

No. It is simply not true that they do not do it for fear of offending someone. This is not a thing. Now, the only difference is that students are not forced to say it. It is optional. But, um, hello, I’m pretty sure that is progress, not a terrifying new world order.

On that note, all public places (schools, government offices, etc.) and all private homes are allowed to fly the flag. Always. So stop with that nonsense too. Just stop. Please.

The latest controversy in this vein, involves my favorite football team, The San Francisco 49ers. And it’s quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. Apparently, he didn’t stand for the national anthem. Oh my! The horror! An American citizen sitting in protest of what he feels is unfair in this country. Can you believe it?!

Specifically, Kaepernick said he is “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

You can agree or not agree with his statement. You can be a “black lives matter” or an “all lives matter” person. I am not getting into that in this post. It’s too long to cover and for me, beside the point. The thing is, what I love so much about this country, is it affords him the opportunity to make this statement. This is fundamental to our democracy.

It reminds me of this John Kerry quote, which I love –

“We are here to affirm that when Americans stand up and speak their minds and say America can do better, that is not a challenge to patriotism; it is the heart and soul of patriotism.”

The HEART AND SOUL OF PATRIOTISM. It’s the ability to speak our minds freely and stand up for what we feel is right – without repercussions.

While he will have no legal repercussions (because thank goodness, we live in the LAND OF THE FREE AND HOME OF THE BRAVE), I am quite certain, that like the Dixie Chicks before him, given his audience, he will have public, and later, financial repercussions.

Here is the NFL’s statement on this matter – “The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”

Yes, yes and yes. I could not agree more. Patriotism is not defined by flying a million flags, or placing your hand over your heart, or reciting the pledge. For me, patriotism is being educated about American history, being involved in our democratic process, and most importantly – expressing yourself freely without fear of being retaliated against. Oh yes, and VOTING!!

These are not the stories that make me outraged, rather, these are the stories that make me believe more than ever – we live in the GREATEST country in the world.

Now excuse me while I put on my America flag dress and parade down the street, with my hand over my heart, reciting the pledge of allegiance, of course…

an-american-flag-dress