First of all, VOTE. Go, vote, now, if you haven’t already, have enough time to read this, and are eligible to in the United States.
Second of all… Oh my, what a terrible two years it has been. Our worst fears from November 8, 2016 are largely becoming manifest. It is a strange and painful and dread-inducing time.
The air is thick with division and vitriol. Human vulnerability is smashing against inhumane ideology and structural oppression. Surrounding this brokenness, permeating the hatred, there are armies of people holding, caring, and advocating for the vulnerable. Fierce human beings are leading the way, resisting despair, and serving others. Despite so much evidence to the contrary, they see injustice through the lens of love, not because human suffering is ever beautiful or tolerable, but because they have chosen to fight for the safety, protection, survival, joy, and flourishing of all people. They have chosen to uphold the value of love, and they have chosen wisely.
We so often discuss the frightening state of the world and that which we are against, but we rarely discuss what we believe in, that which we support. While the president and his minions spew lies about people of color, immigrants, refugees, and victims, I choose, as my friends, family, and classmates do, to resist his ideology vehemently. I have decided, despite my own gnawing dread, to knit my hope to facts and love. Where we choose to place our faith is just as important as where we direct our vote, for they feed one another. In the darker times, when little makes sense about the nature of things and why terrible people are rewarded with power, it is even more important to remind ourselves of what we believe in.
Do I believe in hatred, greed, and violence are real? No. I choose to believe that love, healing, justice, and compassion are real, better and Truer indications of what humankind is designed for and capable of. If we despair, if we abandon the heartbreaking and beautiful struggle of hope, then we let those with the hateful, cruel, or indifferent ideology win. Then, we, too, in our resignation say that there isn’t enough room or resources for everyone, that violence and competition are more feasible than love and justice, that all human beings cannot live kindly and in community with one another.
Given the choice, which luckily I am, I sure as hell am going to believe in the strength of the human spirit over bigotry and limited ideas about human motivation. That means that I remain hopeful for the creation of a better world, but also that I continue to believe virtue is an expansive and plausible option for the redemption for this country and for who we can become together. There is so much at stake in who we choose to govern us, what we choose to advocate for, and what we choose to believe is possible for humanity, for community, for the world our children will inherit. Because what is at stake is the protection of the integrity of our democracy and our collective right to course correct.
We have lost so much these last two years. We have wept. and we have panicked. We have woken up. We have come together and apart. It is true, in the same breath that we use to say what a dark time this is, that people of marginalized groups have been suffering the same grief, pain, and injustice for too many decades. So as we continue to wake up, organize, question one another, and gather together, let us continue to choose where to place our commitment, in mind, in word, in deed, in vote, in hope, carefully and fiercely.
Not everyone can place their faith in a higher, loving power. I understand that. But place your faith in something higher, more virtuous, than what we see in front of us now. Place your faith in wisdom or in kindness or in courage or in love or in the cause of justice or in the healing and reconciliation of people in this country. Do not despair, and vote accordingly.
Offered in love:
“Let America Be America Again,” by Langston Hughes