Facing the Darkness Ahead
The past forty eight hours have been immensely difficult to understand.
Sitting there watching the returns, fresh out of surgery, and hopped up on surgical grade anesthetic, my wife, daughter, and our friends in the next room, I knew it was just a matter of time before they won.
When I say them, I don't mean Republicans. I mean cowards. The people who live in fear of progress. Fear of the boogeymen who would steal their jobs and make them obsolete. Fear of the 'other' stealing their 'things,' be they cultural, financial, spiritual, or otherwise.
This fear has permeated our country to a point that an ideologue who's entire gimmick is to talk to these baseless, unfounded fears, was an inevitable winner of the election. No amount of phone calls or memes or rape proclamation/accusations would change that.
So, after a sleepless night on Tuesday into Wednesday, my wife and I sat on my daughters bed to gently wake her up and to tell her that the good guys lost, and the cowards won. Tuesday afternoon we'd had her parent teacher conference, and the word her teacher used to describe her most succinctly was empathetic. And, so, we talked to her about empathy.
We told her that when people are scared or fearful, they become selfish. And that this week, selfishness won the day, but, that empathy will always win the war. Understanding people, sympathizing with them, and never losing your care and love for them is the only way to win. And so, in the face of all of this fear and hate, be loving, be kind, and be sympathetic.
That's what we told our six year old.
But here's the truth.
We are entering a period of darkness. Our country teeters on the edge of being a police state. Where anyone different, be it of color, sex,vreligion, or by politics is a threat to the tiny, bigoted coward that somehow just got put in charge.
And we can only do one thing to combat that darkness. Burn bright. Burn as bright as we can for the immigrants, the muslims, and the LGBTQ people in our lives. If not because it's the right thing to do, then because I assure you, you will be next. The anti-semitism that runs through his rhetoric, the anti-media bias, the thin skinned threats of censorship of any thing he disagrees with, those are no longer just empty threats. They are our reality.
There will come a day when they will come for me. Just like there will likely be a day that they come for you. We stand on the edge of a full blown return of fascism the likes of which we could never imagine facing again.
I feel impotent. Completely devoid of power to do anything. And that's what I hear from all of the like-minded people in my life.
But, that's just not true. We can do something. We can fight. We can shout. We can protest. We can continue to tell stories that talk to the truth of the human condition. We can be the resistance, fighting against an obvious and looking threat. We may not be able to stop it before it starts, but we can fight for what is right, and at least show the world that this man and his cronies do not represent us or are belief structures.
We are not that far removed from the Holocaust. Even less from HUAC. Barely out of the atrocities of the Civil Rights Era. And here we are again.
So, yes. Be scared of the darkness. But, don't be like them. Be bold. Be brave. Burn bright. Be the light in the darkness. Do it for your kids. Do it for the future. Do it for America.