By Tiffany A. Potter
Two days post-election at the time of writing…
For the record, I believed I was done writing about this election last month, but the truth is I’m still reeling. I don’t know how we got here, to the Twilight Zone, as a country, as a collective body, as (presumably) intensely decent human beings. I can’t make heads or tails out of this outcome or my emotions that go along with it. How did we get here? I don’t ask this question expecting the answers from the pundits and pollsters; I ask it because I don’t understand how the values and morals that most of us learned as children were blatantly absent by the Electoral College majority.
I went to bed Tuesday night, November 8, 2016, sick to my stomach, “This can’t be happening, it just can’t be” was all I could think. My lovely, beautiful, caring friends who sent me texts as the results were coming in simply read, “How are you doing?” because they knew how seriously I took this moment in our time. This was personal to me on a cellular level. Though I was completely prepared to stay up all night on the couch in front of the television, it wasn’t until Podesta came out and told everyone to go home, did I grab my pillow and my very own version of Linus’s blanket and slog off to bed. If I’m honest, doing so while holding out the last sliver of hope that a miracle would take place between then and the next morning when we would, inevitably, wake up to an entirely different world than the one we had all known the day before.
In the last 48 hours I have cried more than I ever thought that I would (and I am not a crier). Crying during her concession speech, crying as I scroll my Instagram feed seeing all of the ruthless and ugliness still coming at our celebrities and peacemakers by his nasty, rude, unkind, mean supporters. I’ve been crying in my car, crying out of fear, and crying whenever I am reminded that I now live with someone who will hold the highest position in the place that I call home who publicly, unabashedly, unapologetically, happily makes fun of people who look just like me. Yes, friends, I take this personally and I am now working my way through the five stages of grief in a way that I could never have anticipated. My heart is sick, my stomach is in knots, I’m scared to my core, and I just feel heavy all of the time.
I don’t know how we got here.
This election was, for me, a values-based race. I still can’t believe that he sold enough people in this country his ugly, awful, fear-based hate and they ate it up. Or, more accurately, voted for it; and worse yet, seemed like they couldn’t get enough of it. Most every bile-filled, foul, gross characteristic that a human being can possess, he has. He has never had one original thought outside of meanness and ego-driven insults that he dispenses as quickly as the form in his brain. And yet, he will be our next president (*sigh). And while I wholly believe that the bad guy can turn into the good guy (case in point, The Grinch), I admit that I don’t have much hope for that happening in this case. But perhaps that’s just my grief talking. However, based on his past behavior I tend to believe him when he shows us who he is, as Ms. Maya Angelou has instructed us to do.
I don’t know how we got here.
This election was never really about electing the first woman as president of our country, for me. Sure, it would have been cool to see, but I was more consumed with electing the most decent human being on the ticket who was informed, experienced, and knew where Aleppo was and why they should know it (sorry, Gary Johnson, you were a wildly awful choice, as well). In this time, in this world of ours full of civil unrest, we desperately need someone who will unite us instead of creating a Grand Canyon size gulf between “us and them”; whoever “them” happens to be on any one day. Pick any one of the groups that live on the fringe of our society and you’ve met the “thems.”
I don’t know how we got here.
But we’re here. We live in a new reality that we will have to muddle through. This landscape looks nothing like anything we’ve seen before and because of that I know this for sure…we have to tread lightly. As I write, there are a number of protests around the country stemming from the adverse reactions my fellow citizens (documented or not) are feeling in regards to our (*clears throat*) newly elected “leader” (I continue to use that term loosely when referring to him). And I can’t say that I blame them, I just ask them to please be careful. Don’t become the very thing that you are protesting against. I understand that these demonstrations are a manifestation of frustrations and anger (which is fear in disguise), but you mustn’t lose sight of the end game so early in the match. This is uncharted territory, our civil liberties are at stake and we have a long road ahead of us; so we have to pick our battles and pace ourselves. The stakes are too high for us turn on the establishment two days in. We must, must, must work together in any capacity that we can.
As I sit here and try to square my feelings surrounding this catastrophic event (I’m not being dramatic, this can certainly be considered a national catastrophic event by its very definition) my goal, my intention, is to be proactive in my healing and moving forward. In order to do that, as I have done so many times before when I have been struggling, I have turned to the guru’s and sage’s amongst us and studied their infinite wisdom in order to guide me. Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith reminded me of this, “You have volunteered to be here, on this planet in this time of human history. You chose to be here to unleash your gifts and to make a mighty difference before you leave. You didn’t come here to bemoan what is happening but to be an answer to what is taking place on our planet.”
So my loves, if you are feeling all of the feels that have come along with this new chapter of our lives, keep in mind this…we are the ones who will have a say in how this plays out. While any number of decisions and choices will be made for us that will set back our progress thus far, we are the ones who will stand up and fight for each other. We will fight like hell against that which does not protect and serve every single one of us. We will be the ones who will volunteer, donate, speak love and not hate, support, unite, and take up for the underdog. We are being asked to rise. To use our super powers for good and to trust that somehow, some way, in the end, it will all make sense. I’m not saying this is going to be easy, Lord knows, but it’s imperative that we offer up our kindness and love. Breath into this, stay focused, prove that love does, in fact, trump hate; and my one last piece of advice, don’t talk to your family members around the dinner table for the next four years. It’ll be better that way.
Tiffany is a disability consultant, entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, and change agent.
Find her at: www.TiffanysTake.com