I’ve been wandering through different phases of grief, but I keep coming back to anger. Anger feels right now, because it touches pretty much everything that has been associated with this election, including myself.
I’m angry at the haters, of course. I’m angry at their party for failing to stop the steamrolling of this horrible gang, and I’m angry at my own for failing to connect with the voters who have put him in office. I’m angry at the hating trolls who think that they now have license to express their hatred, in words, actions, and the actual man-handling of people them deem to be the hated “other.” I’m angry at the folks on our side who are doing the same, although I understand their actions better than I do those of the haters, because oppression does that to people. I’m frankly a little angry at the “kumbaya” voices urging calm and cooperation, because I don’t want to be calm right now.
Most of all, I’m angry at me. For years – decades, probably – I thought I got the anger and pain of people of color and members of other minorities. I have tried, not always successfully, to be an ally. But yesterday, I spent a lot of time looking at the pictures of the hatred being expressed against non-Christians and non-Whites. I read accounts of harassment and assault from Asian, Black, Hispanic, Muslim, gay and other people. I learned of a young gay man who was beaten bloody in Santa Monica, California. I saw school children, college kids and alleged adults acting out the ugliest human characteristics. All I could see in the faces in the photos and the voices of those who spoke their truths were my children and my friends, and I was afraid, very afraid.
My fear, however, was experienced from the perspective of a White woman who will never really feel the horror that is happening around me. I have no right to claim empathy when friends speak of the direct attacks and indirect trauma they experience. But I can validate their truths, support their causes, be a presence and safeguard for them in a world that has become their enemy. I can use my financial resources to support the organizations that support their causes. I can weed out of my life the people, relatives included, who support this ugliness. I can reach out to colleagues and friends to make sure they know I support them and am ready to help when needed. I can also publicly display who I am, with whatever symbols send the message that I’m trying hard not to be like the people who publicly hate.
I am angry, and I will not fight my anger. Instead, I will use it. This is the only way I will get through the coming years.