Good morning, America. Yesterday was rough, and I woke up to what felt like my worst nightmare: President-elect Trump. I cried – a lot. I cried for myself and my family, for my friends, for all of the forward progress that now seemed lost. I cried for you and for the loss of who I thought you were. I avoided any contact with friends, family, and co-workers who I knew had voted for Trump. I tweeted #NotMyPresident, toyed with the idea of moving to Canada, and tried to banish visions of Nazi Germany from my mind.
But today is a new day, and I still love you. After some loving Reiki energy and a good night’s sleep, I remembered an important truth I’d forgotten in the storm of yesterday’s shock and grief. America, you are more than the person in the White House. You are more than Congress or an electoral college. You are more, so much more. Your skin is a beautiful rainbow of shades and colors….dark and light and everything in between. Your voice is the song of diversity, and your history has been shaped by the sons and daughters of every nation. I remembered that this country was founded by men who took action when they were unhappy with the status quo. These men didn’t always agree, but they came together and worked through their differences because they shared a vision of a way of life, of a country that would be better than what they’d left behind. Did you hear me? They took action.
I woke this morning with the remembrance that this is MY country. It’s YOUR country. America belongs to each one of us, and as her citizens, it’s OUR responsibility to make sure that all of our voices are heard. It’s our responsibility to take care of each other, to take care of Mother Earth, and to ensure that the path we walk together leads to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all of us. It’s our responsibility to get off our asses, stand up, and become active participants in creating a country that works for everyone. I woke up this morning thinking about the message behind the election of Trump as president. Trump is our wake-up call, the cry of all those who feel steamrolled by our government. We’re unhappy. We feel unheard, unloved, unimportant. We feel that our needs, our hopes, and our fears have been ignored by our government. We feel unsafe. The way of life we’ve always known is crumbling, and the change is uncomfortable and scary. We want the freedom to love who we love, to be paid fairly for our work, to know that our families are safe, protected, fed, and have equal opportunity to follow their dreams. We feel unbalanced and discarded. We feel threatened. We feel that our lives don’t matter. We feel we cannot be authentic to ourselves. We fear. We grieve. We worry about the future and feel anxious about the present. We feel that no one understands. We feel disconnected from one another. We feel alone.
I hear you, America. I feel all of those things, too. You know what? We all feel those things. Every single one of us. Trump is president now, and half of us are thrilled. Half of us are terrified. So what do we do? Can we heal from this sense of separateness that exists so deeply among us? How do we get past the grief, the anger, the blame and shame and get back to US? We have to allow ourselves to remember. The past 15 years have shaken our notions of who we are. They’ve revealed the unhealed wounds in our hearts and caused us to lash out at each other because we didn’t want to see those wounds. It’s painful to admit we’re not the good guys all the time. It’s painful to acknowledge our own darkness, and so we ran from it. We pushed it away, wrapped it in the clothes and faces of cultures and religions we didn’t understand and made it our enemy. But we were running from our own shadow, and there was no place to hide. So now here we are, standing in the darkness together. And you know what? It’s okay. It’s scary as hell, but it’s okay. The founders of our country had to face their own darkness. They had to be with their uncertainty and trust the light of their shared vision to guide them out of the darkness. America, the flame of that vision…unity …still burns between us. Together, every day, we can stand up for each other. We can smile at a stranger, extend our hand to help another. We can pray for each other and give thanks for each breath, for each sunrise, for each new opportunity to fight together. We can stop waiting for our government to guide us and instead, become the leaders of our own path.
It won’t be easy. In fact, it’s going to be fucking hard and painful. Our wounds go deep and a few smiles or acts of kindness won’t be enough to heal those wounds. Every single day, each one of us needs to make the choice to show up and fight for US. Not with hate, ignorance, fear, or violence – but with kindness, compassion, and love. We’ll have to turn off the reality television, stop listening to the hysterical rantings of the media, and tune into our children, our neighbors, our communities. We’ll have to give a shit about other people – people who may look different from us or who may have views or lifestyles that are different from ours. We’ll have to get actively involved with each other and hold ourselves accountable every day for making sure our thoughts, words, and actions reflect the change we want to see in the world. Every fucking day. And when you get weak, I’ll be there to give you my strength. And when I get weak, I hope you’ll be there to share your strength with me. It’s going to be hard and painful, America, but I know we can do it together.
Not all of us will be on board with healing. Many of us don’t want to face our darkness. It scares us, and we don’t know what to do with that fear. So we lash out. That’s okay. Healing takes time, and the rest of us will be right here, holding space for that fear with love and compassion. We’ll stick together because we’re Americans, and that’s what we do for each other. Here’s the thing to remember, America: straight, white, Christian men aren’t the enemy. Muslims aren’t the enemy. Women aren’t the enemy. Latinos aren’t the enemy. Members of the LGBT/Q+ community aren’t the enemy. Fear is the enemy. Only love is real, America. Only love.
Right now, we’re standing in the darkness together. But a flame still burns in the darkness between us. America, will you meet me at the fire?
In Love & Peace,