Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Why Did I Sense This Was Coming? 

As we got closer and closer to the election, I struggled more and more to maintain my typical optimism.  I couldn’t really pin down what I was feeling, but as I reflect on my election day experience, I think I have some additional clarity in what was going on. 

For the past decade, for a variety of reasons, my rose colored glasses have had a lot of the rose wiped off of them. As I have been forced to confront personal blind spots, sometimes willingly and sometimes after a lot of wailing and resisting on my part, I have come to a space where I now feel that while this experience is often painful, it is exactly what I want to be doing. 

At the same time, I have had a growing sense of angst as I watch so many other people around me desperately hanging onto their identity of being “good” people who are above the hate that they see represented in the Trump rally’s.  This angst has been further exacerbated by a increasing awareness of how our systems were designed in such a way that those of us in power were clearly protected from having to actually get honest with ourselves about the fact that our fear of differences is incredibly deep seeded and fear and hate that we saw in the Trump rally’s lived in everyone of us all of the time. 

Without this level of honesty there is no path to progress. 

As we neared the election, I wanted to believe that we had shown a light that was bright enough that if we elected Hillary, we would no longer be able to continue pretending…..we would have to get honest.  Part of me knew I was wrong and my experience yesterday reinforced this. 

I spent the day yesterday with some of the “best” people I know…..people who care deeply about children and especially care about those among us who have not been served well by the system.

And….these people were all white, were all straight, were all middle to upper class, and most were male. 

Because we were travelling together in a car, I found myself literally trapped in an intellectual conversation about the election.  When it started, I mustered up all the self-protective advocacy skills I could and said, “ I am going to have to ask you to stop talking about this.” 

It continued.

I then tried “I just need to point out that having a conversation about the election today in this way is a privilege that some don’t have.” 

It continued and I became the butt of good natured jokes.

I quit trying and pulled out my phone and got lost in my email.  I thought I was ok. 

When I got back to my “safe zone” with people I know well, I found myself passionately venting about that experience, but I still didn’t get it.  I knew my experience was different from others in the car.  I knew it felt much darker, and I didn’t particularly like that, but I couldn’t quite identify what it was that was bothering me. 

Today, as many of the amazing people around me are expressing shock about the results, I am finding some clarity. 

You see, if Hillary had won, there was a real chance we could have all continued to deny the reality of our own fear and the hate and anger this generates, and we could have continued to hurt people while believing we were good and refusing to really look at our truth.  This result didn’t feel like a win to me yesterday either. 

Don’t get me wrong. The results are truly horrifying, but I find comfort in the fact that the light is really now shining on our darkness.....and only that can drive it out!    

I commit to continuing to shine the light! 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. “
Martin Luther King Junior