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Mindful bonus from Waylon & elephant community, today:
The 2016 election results are in, and I can barely stand.
The foundation of morals and values that so many of us thought we stood for as a country is shaken, and we now have to face each other—white, black, brown, queer, straight, male, female, elderly, young—and tell each other that this is the best we could do.
We feel betrayed. What we thought we were as a country, we are not.
But mostly, it’s because the people and institutions we thought we knew, we don’t.
We no longer respect our relatives who bought into the vitriol of a fascist, selfish candidate. We watched as they condoned, then voted for hate speech and misogyny, and we feel betrayed by the very people who told us all along that love is colorblind and that we are all equal.
We feel betrayed by longtime friends who have shared some of the most precious moments of our lives, but who have taken advantage of the free pass Trump has given them to criticize and hate “the gays,” “the blacks,” and “the illegals.”
We question our churches that condoned hatred and violence toward people who aren’t Christian, and called narcissism and lies part of “Christian values.”
We women feel deceived by our fathers and the men in our lives who told us as little girls that we can be anything we want to be, but who now dismiss “grab ‘em by the pussy” as locker room talk, and adultery as “boys will be boys.”
We feel let down by our own party, in which the DNC chairwoman resigned after she was caught rigging the election against a candidate and a cause many of us continue to believe in.
But most of all, we are deeply, intensely saddened that, in 2016 America, we are struggling to say that we are proud of who we are.
We want to believe that we are the best country in the world, just as we’ve been told our entire lives, but our eyes are wide open. We see the wrongs, and we desperately, desperately want to make them right. It now seems impossible, at least for the next four years.
Yet we also recognize that “the enemy” is our neighbors, our loved ones, and our institutions that continue to uphold overt and covert racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia and sexism. It is a sense of betrayal that cuts to the core.
Not only are we shattered by the duplicity in our lives, but those whose ugly underbellies shattered our sense of reality have now found their tribe. Their hatred and fear has been normalized and even praised, and they now feel vindicated in continuing to blame minorities, women, the LGBTQ community, and “others” as scapegoats for their hypocritical beliefs and behaviors.
For those of us determined to stand on the right side of history and not succumb to the temptations of individualism and fear, the real battle is about to begin.
It will be harder than ever to stand our ground, but we must.
We have lost friends. We have alienated and been alienated by people we have known for significant portions of our lives. We have stood our ground, even when that ground crumbled and shook around us.
Now more than ever, we must hold our elected officials accountable. We must continue to battle for not only our rights, but for those of our neighbors, our friends, our families, and strangers—like we always have, even though we know that some of them, even many of them, are not in our corner.
Love them anyway. Be kind to them anyway. This is the very definition of unconditional love, and it is a challenge we all must accept.
For my brothers and sisters who are people of color, you have been right all along. Many of us already knew that, but for those who are just learning, we are on your side because, in reality, there are no sides. It is only hate, fear, and power that have made us think so.
For my brothers and sisters who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, asexual, transgender, or any other beautiful creation, you have been heard. Not only do you have nothing to prove, but you have never, ever deserved to be considered different or less than anyone else.
For my brothers and sisters who are immigrants in the United States or somewhere else, regardless of whether or not you have paperwork that says you have a right to be here, you are beautifully human, and I am glad that you are here. We are all part of the human race, and when one of us suffers, we all suffer. If life in your current home is better than life in your past home, I am happy for you, and so are about half of my fellow Americans.
We have closed our eyes. All of us. Whether we have failed to recognize the suffering of others, or we have failed to recognize our complicity, not a one of us escapes unscathed.
I know that I am writing this from a standpoint of white, cisgender, middle class privilege. It is only fair that those of us who have most willfully closed our eyes to injustice, inequity, and inhumanity toward others are among those who are rocked the most when our sense of who we are comes crashing to the ground. But I, like so many others, am listening—really listening—and I want to do the right thing.
This election proves that we as a nation can still be fooled by the stories woven for us by our politicians, our media, and our innermost fear.
But today is a new day.
Love still trumps hate, regardless of who is in the White House. Now we just have to live it out loud, every day, mindfully and intentionally.
After all, this is America, land of the free, home of the brave. We are, and will continue to be the brave, so that eventually we can all be free of discrimination, of hate, and of fear.
Mindful bonus: now, more than ever:
We might need this right about now:
Now, more than ever—help locally.
From earlier today:
Author: Amanda Christmann
Editor: Toby Israel
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