In these final days of the 2020 Election campaign, as I talk to friends and acquaintances, it is clear that worry is a big part of many people's emotional equation, including mine. So I am reposting here what I had to say after the last election, because no matter what the outcome is this time, I stand by my conclusions of four years ago.
I feel bad. I feel abused. I feel like taking to my bed with a bottle of vodka. I feel outraged at my country. I feel like I am suffering from a great loss and cannot think straight. I feel apathetic. I feel afraid. I feel guilty. I feel small. I feel confused.
All through this Presidential election campaign, I felt a growing awareness that the country I am living in is not the country I thought I was living in. Now I know for sure that I have not really been looking at my country as it is. I was lulled into a feeling of hope and security by evidence that change was truly happening: change for women, minorities, and the under-represented people in our society. I thought we were ready for a woman to be our President, a woman who had the experience, the courage, and the will to continue the fight for true freedom of all people in our land but who could navigate the treacherous waters of the world as it is, who could continue to redeem our country in the eyes of the world.
I did not realize the extent of the anguish many of my fellow Americans are going through everyday as they try to make a living. I did not realize how very angry are the white, straight, conservative Christian men and women of this country. How ripe this segment of our society, who are still a slim majority, were for the con game of a demagogue who has played on their fears and insecurities to advance his own hunger for power and recognition.
I could not bring myself to post a blog about a book I read three weeks ago before this rude awakening was forced on me. Even though this morning, when I checked my reading log, I see that the next book I was to post a review about is actually completely apropos: The Big Green Tent by Ludmila Ulitskaya, a novel about Soviet Russia in its latter days.
I watched Hilary Clinton’s address to her campaign team yesterday morning and once again admired her courage, her clear thinking, and all the other qualities she has for leadership. I went to my reading group last night to discuss Last Days of Night by Graham Moore, a wonderful piece of historical fiction about the early years of electric power in America; the intersection of science, finance, and the law. We discussed, we drank wine, we got to giggling about pussy grabbing. The gloom began to lift.
This morning I read a great article on Lit Hub: Literary Voices React to President Donald Trump
. Again I went through the whole spectrum of emotions. I started making decisions about my future reading. At one point I decided to read only books by women of all races, creeds, and nationalities. At another point I decided to drop the blog and just work on my Big Fat Reading Project and my memoir. I jotted down a quote from Dan Peipenbring of the Paris Review: “And read as often and as violently as you can.”
As always, I was restored by writers.
Lately, in my life, I have been pondering the concept of rebalancing. It is an ecological, Buddhist, Tao Te Ching, long-view concept. Human beings get out of balance due to all kinds of factors that are part of daily life but some cosmic force works always to bring the dichotomies of life back into balance. All of those emotions I cited in the first paragraph of this essay are brought about by the terror of things getting so out of balance that life or the universe will end.
My conclusion today is that I had not totally been facing how out of balance the world and the human race truly is at this time. It is not that I did not know that. It is that I thought things were improving. And I think they are but not as much as I had thought. A huge factor in the cosmic force towards balance is sentient beings. When the storm is over, when the fire is out, when the smoke clears, it is up to sentient beings to come out of disaster mode and start thinking, planning, setting things to rights.
The best sentient beings I know are people who read and write, clearly and as truthfully as they can. That is us! Bloggers, readers, authors, publishers. We dare not give up, give in, or stay silent. We need to read it all, even the words of white male chauvinist bigots. Everyone in a free society gets to have a say, we need to know the enemy and understand him, and we need to be in conversation with him.
So, I will read, I will write, I will attempt to be in concert with the forces of balance, I will not pander, I will not be silent. I will be back tomorrow with my next review.
Thank you for visiting and reading my blog. Take heart, carry on, be the change you want to see in this world, keep the faith, and all that good stuff!