One of the current buzzwords in corporate speak is "let's unpack this." I'm not sure what the exact corporate to English definition is, but in emotional baggage speak it's pretty obvious. Let's get the election souvenirs out of these bags and then examine them.
That's kind of where I am with the president-elect situation.
1) First souvenir out of the bag is my loss of mojo....
I follow the Pantsuit Nation and am in awe of the amazing women who are ready to stand tall, band together, kick ass and take names. They're educating themselves, planning rallies and basically trying to save the world. I am in awe because they are the definition of awe-inspiring. I hope I do not offend too greatly when I say I wish that they had had this momentum a few months ago, but honestly -- that's part of the unpacking. I didn't have this momentum either.
Part of why I lost the momentum -- or maybe never had it -- is because of the echo chamber of Facebook. It's all many of us have talked about since this was over. We're friends with like-minded people, we block and/or unfriend people who don't agree with us. Because, as one friend eloquently phrased it, you cannot "change a mind made of concrete." But, I just didn't think I was dealing with so many people who were also in echo chambers. Completely different echo chambers. Chambers echoing that a country run by a misogynist, racist, homophobic, xenobic, lying liar was somehow better off than one run by a woman, a qualified and yet flawed woman, but a woman nonetheless. Echo chambers that believe that we're somehow going to be okay as women's rights and gay rights and Muslim rights and black rights slowly get more and more stripped away. I know you didn't either you. You thought our truth was THE truth. But, even within that, you're probably now being inundated with stories about how fake news stories contributed to our current state of affairs. People sharing stories ad nauseum that are completely false because they like the fake headlines and maybe didn't even read the actual article and certainly didn't fact check them. The statistics have been done and shown that while there were far more of them done on the right than on the left, they were still done by the left. It's not RIGHT for anyone to do it, but that can't be stopped anymore than the ubiquitous spam emails promising you instant weight loss if you just send your bank account to that poor little prince in Persia.
In order to get this unwieldy souvenir out of my bag, I have to stop denying that its a problem I possess. I can't promise I'm going to be any better about getting my "news" from the Facebook, but I promise I will be more vigilant in verifying the stories I read, fact-checking them through Snopes, ProPublica and Politifact. I will stay more in touch with my own local news -- especially through my favorite super local source The Princess Anne Independent News (even if J-H Doucette has kicked my ass in poker more than once). I am unpacking my own deliberate head-in-the-sand attitude and if I come across fake stories, I will do what I can to quash them and dispel them.
2) There will be many, many more posts about this if I can manage to keep writing, but we gotta keep talking about white privilege
I'm not going to sugarcoat this. If you are a white person, you have privilege. If you think that means you had it easy or you never had to struggle, then you don't fucking understand what privilege is and you need to check yourself. If you care enough to educate yourself, this is my favorite essay on the topic. I have yet to have a conversation with someone about white privilege who doesn't understand it and suddenly change their mind, but I continue to hope that there are people out there who can be taught. Having privilege doesn't mean that you don't have to be worried or scared about the pending changes with our new administration, it just means that the reality is you don't have to be AS scared. White people who deny their privilege like to say that they have had to work hard for everything they have and they are "tired" of hearing people of color (whom they also rarely refer to as people of color) use their skin color as an "excuse" for not getting what they want or for the world being messed up. I think those people are lost. I think those people are never going to "get it." They don't understand even the basic matter of not being able to buy a "flesh-colored" ANYTHING that doesn't remotely look like THEIR flesh and then translate that into how that is just ONE example of what "privilege" means.
I feel awful that I lost sight of this issue. That part of the rage so many Americans felt was over their inherent racism over our current administration. (See also: evil, awful woman who called our current First Lady an ape and then denied that she meant anything racist about it. HUH?)
I'll leave it like this for now, because again -- if I can keep up writing (see also - don't want to lose my my mojo), I know I will write about white privilege again. It's something I feel particularly passionately about.
3) While I have a lot more in my emotional baggage, this is the hardest one for me to deal with right now. My constant anxiety about the future. It's always there now, gnawing away of my guts. You know that feeling that you have when you go on a road trip and you think you left the stove on or forgot something important at home? It's like that. It's not a crushing anxiety, it's like test anxiety. Because, that's what I really feel like this is, friends. I feel like I'm about to be tested and I fear -- greatly -- that I will be found lacking.
I'm not a marcher or a protester. I'm obviously no great essayist poised to write about and undergo a movement. I don't have a great memory for facts and figures in the face of finger-pointing arguments. In short, I do not feel up to this challenge. And yet, I can't see myself backing down either. Because just doing nothing doesn't feel like an option anymore. So, even if it's small things like calling my elected officials or starting my blog back up or sharing this YouTube post from a 14-year-old boy who understands that this dude shouldn't be president of ANYTHING, I'm going to keep doing whatever I can to keep my own little protests going...
Thanks for reading -- love to you all!