“How do you feel?”
I feel raw enough to want to lash out at the question. But self-awareness holds me back. So I will answer it as if it were a real question.
I feel…not surprised. This is the America all your loud, troublesome, badass activist friends have been telling you we still have. A nation that rewards racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, ableist rhetoric because said nation stubbornly believes that the privileges one enjoys are the privileges that one has earned (and ignores that if that were true, we wouldn’t call them privileges but a paycheck because that’s what those words mean) instead of the privileges one was simply born into. This is privilege in statistical form, and still our country will refuse to see it because it wants to believe the dreamworld its myths have created so much that it will elect a president who has no qualification to do the job because he panders to their delusions of entitlement and calls them truth.
I feel annoyed by people telling me how to feel. Specifically, I feel annoyed by the do-not-despair, God-is-in-control group. Unless I’m unclear on what omnipotence means (that’s false modesty – I’m not unclear), God has been in control since the dawn of time. God has been in control throughout every terrible thing that has ever come to pass and every terrible leader that has made it happen. Every awful and life-altering thing that has ever happened to you or your loved ones? The same God was in control then, and that did not stop those things from happening. Do you see, therefore, how this statement might not be a comfort to those who are afraid or grieving? I hope you do. Anyway, I’m gonna go ahead and have some moments of despair.
[Aside: Jesus and I are fine. He, too, would like you to cut it out with the impotent platitudes. He thinks perhaps this is more of a show up and bring on the wine sort of situation. Maybe we’ll even toss some tables around for good measure.]
I feel like a sore loser, which might be an unfair assessment because this is not a game of spades. This is our lives. We have just told women, people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA people, people of any religion outside mainstream Christianity, people outside any mainstream constructed by the privileged elite – “Those cards that we stacked against you? We’re just going to keep them stacked. In fact, we’re going to build a wall of cards.” So yeah. I feel sore about that, and I lost a little more hope, so I guess technically the term applies. I don’t want to hear any backlash from Trump supporters on this point, because when Trump bragged he would be a sore loser if he didn’t win, you voted for him anyway, so this is behavior you have already supported, and I am not in the mood to entertain your inconsistency. To the rest of you – I know. This is not my finest hour. I’ll do better. In fact, I’ll work to do a hundred times better, because the ten-times-better-than that I’ve averaged throughout my life so far isn’t enough when you have a vagina. Apparently.
I feel sad that a HRC victory would have only left me feeling relief instead of the joy I would have wanted to feel with the election of our first female president. It would have been a lukewarm victory for me. But I am not lukewarm in my mourning of her loss this morning. My prayers are with the person with her resume who just lost to the person with his resume.
[My prayers will be with him later, but I’m not ready yet. I imagine they will be different, at least at first. God still accepts lamentations, right?]
I feel like less has changed than it feels like has changed. We woke up with the same work left to do this morning that we would have had otherwise; we woke up with the same nation. Progress meets backlash, and that’s how my anxiety is having to frame this right now.
You can pledge to continue the work. Start with this open letter to our nation by 100 women of color leaders. Read and listen voraciously, particularly to people whose background, upbringing, and lives do not look like your own. Particularly to people who have had to work harder than you do to get to the same place.
And more importantly, let’s do better.