Sometimes I am so angry that the political scene of late is in such a despicable state. It’s chaotic and scary. I fret over the news and rail against the latest distraction caused by this president, his cabinet, his everything anti-Obama, his stupid tweets. But I’ve gotten much better at knowing when to redirect and pursue some personal happiness. I’ve gotten much better at recognizing that without the anger, I’d still be a bystander. With the support of family and the goodness of friends, I have learned that when anger becomes an action for good, good things happen.
Sometimes I am overwhelmed at the cruelty that has surfaced since the election. Hate crimes, Muslim bans, protections for vulnerable citizens erased, cyberbullying by our very own commander-in-chief, attacks against women, the list goes on. I was in middle school during the Civil Rights Movement and grew up thinking those of us who had championed for the cause had made the world a better place, that hate was in retreat. I know now I cannot let being overwhelmed by evidence that says otherwise get in the way of action against such blatant discrimination.
Sometimes I am just plain tired. It’s exhausting to be so “woke” as they say. Staying abreast of the resistance and living in a trumptown makes me feel so small at times. The energy, though, comes from knowing what I can do and what I can not. I can donate to organizations that support the environment, social justice, women’s rights and education. I can attend meetings that teach me how to contact my legislative representatives, to have a voice in this great democracy of ours. I can lead by example in the way I treat others. And I can vote. I have learned that I am not too tired to do any of those things.
Sometimes I am proud. When I think of all the ways I have grown since the election, I am amazed. I see the world differently now and am proud that so many of us see ourselves a part of the change, of a movement that screams “enough is enough!” I am proud that voices in the Me, Too movement are being heard, proud that so many women are now running for office, proud that the momentum of the Women’s March continues, proud that I have been a part of the democratic process that believes in people over party. Reading the newly published book, Together We Rise, I came across a picture of a protester holding a sign that said, “I’m not going to get over it (p. 102).” I remembered a local trumper telling me to “just get over it” after the election—nope, I’m not getting over it. I’m staying strong, for me, for those I love, for those who need my voice.
Sometimes I am angry, overwhelmed and tired. But mostly, I am proudly defiant and plan to stay that way.
Together We Rise: behind the Scenes at the Protest Heard Round the World. Dey St., an Imprint of William Morrow, 2018.