November 10, 2016

Red

This is what the country looks like the day after the election. This is what division looks like. This is where judgment, competition, and elitism leads. Division. I don't know about you, but all the people in my life, including myself, were rather stunned at this outcome. And rightly so. This was not like any other election, and similarly, the newly-tapped President-Elect is like no other.

I am not posting this to wax poetic on how it all went down and who is or isn't worthy to be blamed, I really just want to capture my day yesterday. Again, it was like none other during my time on university campus.

It was a scheduled "long" day, meaning I had two classes, a prof meeting, and a tutoring session planned. It was also was my middle son's birthday, so I knew the evening was booked, as well. Frankly, I didn't know what to expect as I drove to campus. Since we don't partake of television news (or any tv for that matter), my source of news of the election was good-ole Google, which did not disappoint. Chuck and I were pretty stunned late Tuesday night when it was clear the direction things were going to go. (Full disclosure: we didn't favor either candidate, but strongly favored the long-time independent senator/candidate that was pushed out in the primary through efforts I won't discuss at this juncture.)

My first stop was for a rather early prof meeting that, due to a schedule glitch, didn't happen. However, I had the privilege of chatting with my Latin prof, who had many insightful thoughts about the election results. In the course of our conversation, he shared that there is a much-needed national conversation that needs to happen, and it doesn't all include race and/or gender issues. There is a deep divide in this country that is fueled and sustained by religion, mostly evangelical Christianity, that has invaded politics against the intent of the first amendment of the the US Constitution.

I had only one thing I could affirm...that I am working on acceptance and rejecting fear of what hasn't happened yet.

As I moved on to the library to drill Latin terms a bit prior to Latin class, I ran into a fellow student from my American Church History class from last term. He wanted to discuss the election, too. Turns out he was a Trump supporter, however, was greatly disturbed by the angst he was seeing on campus. He said he couldn't really be happy when so many were upset and afraid. That was nice. Unfortunately, I couldn't agree with his politics, nor reasoning.

But, I am working on acceptance and rejecting fear of what hasn't happened yet.

Next up was Latin class where I walked into a discussion already underway. The poly-sci major just listened and was consoled by the bio major, the chem major and physics major discussed how this was so different from years past, and the two young classics majors were emotional, one of them broke down in fearful tears. They are both very afraid of what is going to happen to their LGBT family and friends after all this. So much fear-mongering has been spewed during this campaign, there are many who cannot discern what is real and what is rhetoric. My heart just broke for these young women as they struggled with the election outcome.

I suggested, as an older student, for these sweet souls to work towards acceptance and rejecting fear of what hasn't happened yet.

Next up was the meeting with my Religion prof that I thought was earlier. I love this prof deeply, and he was visibly shaken by the election results. He shared how his past evening had gone, and the ramifications of this new president for his family and the entire country. He and his partner were married when same-sex marriage was legalized here in Washington, and now, well, what happens next? I just hate to think of how many are just waiting for the persecution and discrimination to resume full-force. If my heart wasn't broken enough, it broke even more for this conversation. He was professional, as always, but I know too much. So much burden. So much potential for needless hurt and harm. So much unknown. So much fear.

I affirmed that I am diligently striving for acceptance of the situation and rejecting fear of what hasn't happened yet.

As I walked towards the Anderson Center for a quick bite, I passed conversation after conversation of students grouped in twos and threes expressing concerns and opinions about the election. There was a whisper of what had happened the night before on campus: a group of Trump protesters gathered in Red Square, only to be met with a counter-protest. Things got heated, but not dangerous, thankfully. As I grabbed some nosh, I read the email from the President of the University inviting all to a gathering in Red Square that evening as a way to respectfully share and discuss the election. He greatly emphasized that the mission of the school was CARE for others, even if there is disagreement.

Interestingly, as I sat down with my lox 'n schmear, I opened a well-done ARTICLE discussing the Jewish response to the election. It was a strange moment of my Jewish heart connecting with my tribe in a way that hasn't happened for a while yet brought back so many memories, It left me feeling rather raw.

I am working on acceptance and rejecting fear of what hasn't happened yet.

I made my way towards my capstone class feeling a little disconnected. Passed more conversations, and a group of students talking with an older man. I took note because he was a white man with completely white hair talking with a group of young women, one of Hispanic descent, one of Asian heritage, and one who wore a hijab. It was a poignant scene I wish I could have captured in a photo.

They, too, were working on acceptance and rejecting fear of what hasn't happened yet.

Back in class, there was more discussion of the election, and an emphasis that it is never a good idea to made decisions while emotions are high. Good advice, for sure. I was pretty much numb by this point of the day, and I still had a tutoring appointment to get under my belt.

I was pretty glad to be leaving campus when, at last, I was able to walk to my car. I didn't realize how emotional it had all been until I closed my car door and just breathed out a long sigh. I decided to jot down a few things, if only to get them out of my thoughts for a moment.

Meeting my son and his fiance for a 21st birthday dinner was a much needed diversion, as nothing of the election came up, nor did I hear anyone else talking about it in the restaurant. The sushi bar was busy with young people, as always, and the 7 televisions were featuring sports of all flavors. No room for politics and high emotions here...only sushi happy hour. I think it was the first time I was thankful for sports.

So, at the end of the day, as I finally sank into my bed, my final thought was what I had repeated throughout the day: acceptance and the rejection of fear of the unknown. We will just deal with what happens when it happens. In this manner, perhaps we can stay and live in the moment. I don't want fear and worry to steal one moment of my life; I have lost too many in that manner already.

Somehow, there always seems to be just the right music for every circumstance.
Surreal, indeed.



Let go of the story and return to the only place of power:
the present moment.


ps. here is an interesting article, as well, from the academic world of religious studies. You might find it intriguing, if disheartening.

1 comment:

Ari C'rona said...

I so appreciate your experience and am working on acceptance and rejecting fear of what hasn't happened yet...