How to Use These Bullshit Election Results for Good
Although I know it's unwise, as a writer, to admit that you don't know what you're talking about straight away.... I'm going to go ahead and admit that I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to politics. More than that, ongoing conflict and confrontation between people has historically made me shut down -- personally and in a global sense -- so I've largely avoided straight-up politics, choosing, instead, to focus on abstract interpretations of such. Because artsy people: they're my people. Red-faced screamers in suits... not so much.
The problem with burying my head in cultivated sand is this: I've been living and operating in a bubble of woke bohemians. I don't directly know a single person who voted for Trump, and it honestly never occurred to me that his presidency was a real possibility.
I imagine this greatly frustrated my little sister who is, in fact, a woke wearer of suits (and the most informed, most thoughtful person I know) who has long studied and hustled to improve the justice system. So next time there's a bigoted billionaire with bad hair running for president, I will heed her warnings and do more than vote for his opponent. I'll extract my head from its sandy bed and hustle for justice.
...Which brings me to subject matter I do inherently understand: how to cope with this shit and even use the bad news for good. Here goes:
1. Recognize where you could have done more. No need to continually blame yourself or anyone else -- you didn't know this could actually happen. You saw the memes and anti-Trump illustrations and ubiquitous responses to his idiocy and assumed we were all in the same dump Trump boat. Turns out he was harboring Rust Belt supporters in his diamond-encrusted yacht. Ugh. But do notice what else you could have done.
2. Reach out to your gurlz; your black and brown and LGBT friends. Gather them, build them up. Assure them you have their backs and you'll move forward with them.
To this end, I'm having some lady friends over for a "Queensgiving" dinner next week, and in the wake of this national tragedy, pinged them all to acknowledge yesterday's heartbreak, and remind them that they are powerful and loved. The bolstering replies we all received yesterday... holy shit. Here's a favorite:
" My one positive reoccurring thought is this: to be better, to create and nurture a better self, to commit to thoughtfulness and kindness in my actions towards my friends and family and importantly strangers. To accept responsibility for my part not only in this country and world, but here where I stand, my world." -- Keely
3. Let this motivate you to do your thing, whatever that thing is, with ferocity and spirit. If you're a maker, respond to oppression (and it is oppression) by making. Look outside yourself -- this from a person who usually preaches looking inside and already fessed up to her optimistic delusion -- and create... and let those creations be tinged with anger and real meaning. Make some diamonds out of your charred emotions. Like perennial badass Toni Morrison said "This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal."
Need a gentle shove to get those artistic juices flowing? Yeah, hi. Me too. If you're in Chicago, get involved in we all live here, which uses art, community, and technology to foster togetherness. Their tagline: "Men and Women. Young and Old. Gay and Straight. Black and White. Tall and Short. Rich and Poor. Dog and Cat. We all live here together. Our differences and uniquenesses make us all better and we should embrace this and enjoy each other responsibly."
4. Remember that blind optimism leads to delusion... which leads to people like Donald Trump becoming President. So let's just all collectively acknowledge, and keep acknowledging, that this sucks. So. Hard. We can be positive. We can be inspired. But there's no shame AT ALL in feeling scared and let down and madder than you've ever felt.
I'm with you.