Where do I even begin? The last week or so has been a bumpy emotional ride, and even as things begin to level out, I’m left with so much uncertainty and occasional anxiety. Donald Trump will be our president. The words are still difficult to write.
I have many friends who voted for Mr. Trump. Their perspective on politics and the state of our country stands in such contrast from mine, I sometimes marvel at the fact that we’re friends at all. But I count it on balance as a good thing.
I’ve begun to think that I have sealed myself off too much from the outside world and from outside opinions. For one thing, I certainly am sealed off geographically. Living only 10 miles from The People’s Republic of Boulder, I do not run in many circles that challenge my view of things. And for the most part, I like that. Confrontation is uncomfortable. I think we’ve been conditioned by social media to fire off nasty and/or dismissive talking points without delving into any of the substance behind our disagreements.
I also think the 24 hour news cycle isn’t good for us. I’m not sure where the line is between being informed and being controlled is, but I do feel sure that we are past it. Is it possible for an entire nation to turn off the web/tv/radio pipeline and take a collective breath or two?
Maybe it’s time for Hands Across America 2016.
If I identify in a particular way spiritually, it is as a Buddhist. One of the central tenets of Buddhism is not clinging. To not be rigid. These are concepts that are easier to practice when things are going our way. It’s like the parenting strategies I come up with in my shrink’s office. They sound so ideal in the bubble of therapy. Quite a bit different to put into effect when shit is blowing up at home.
But: this is it. This is happening. How will I cope with it? Will I gnash my teeth and scream into the wind for the next 4 years? How do I fight and not let the fight become everything I’m about? How do I advocate and stand up for what I believe in without surrendering too much of myself and my peace to the cause?
I am allowing myself a rebound period to let the poison of the election season recede. Let things settle down. Take a break from Facebook, the rantings, the fake news and the vitriol. If I really want this country to change and for healing to begin: where does it start?
With me. Period. Simple, but not easy.
But I am also guarding against accepting some of the viewpoints Donald Trump has legitimized as normal. This was something that John Oliver brought up on his post election show. I believe that many of the things Mr. Trump has said and many of the fringe groups he has emboldened should be rejected.
So as I try to move forward and leave the rancor behind, I want to go on record:
I am not okay with the way he has treated women.
I am not okay with multiple infidelities.
I am not okay with demonizing Muslims or immigrants.
I am not okay with the KKK. (which kind of sounds like the whitest Public Enemy song ever written)
I am not okay with declaring bankruptcy and stiffing contractors.
I am not okay with mocking people with disabilities.
I am not okay with making abortion illegal.
I am not okay with denying climate change.
And I am not okay with rolling back any rights of the LGBTQ community.
NOT OKAY. OK?
That said… (breath) … I am willing to be optimistic. I am willing to take a leap of faith.
I will treat Mr. Trump in a manner that I would like every president to be treated: respectfully, if cautiously. I will not tear him down before he’s even been sworn in.
If he begins to do things that I believe are wrong, I will fight. And I hope that if he compromises basic principles that we claim to believe in as a nation, that the fight will not be a battle of the left or right, but one that all Americans will join.
I’m Jonathan Hanst, and I approve of more cat videos.