Somehow, we need to carry on. We need to live our lives, show up to our jobs and our friends and loved ones. Do chores, teach our children right from wrong, and work to care for our little corner of the world.
It feels impossible. Each day, for months now, a new outrage. Trump boasting that he grabs women by the pussy. Mocking a man with a disability. Planning to take his first weekend in office off. Loading the government with old white businessmen. And on and on. You know all of it. We sit here and love this country, love what we want it to stand for: the land of the free, the home of the brave. Lifting our lamp for the oppressed. And being smacked in the face with the reality that it never really was that. The dark seed of hatred toward people of color, people with different sexual orientations, people without a penis, has blossomed into a terrible, intolerable fruit.
But we believed. We believed, as Dr. King said, that “the arc of history bends towards justice.” We believed that our imperfect government stood for justice.
Now, our government stands for making a small cadre of old white men richer, at the expense of everyone and everything else on the planet. We’re told by Trump supporters to get over it, to make nice.
And it feels like there’s not a damn thing we can do about it. We weep, we march, we knit pink hats, we share our outrage on social media, but deep down, I work to stave off a looming sense of dread and helplessness. I fear that nothing we do will matter. The train has left the station, with us on it. We feebly grab at passing branches, knowing they will snap without slowing the train.
But endings aren’t prophesied. We think we know how the future will unfold, but we don't. So let’s write a different one. Let this be the time where we don’t get outrage fatigue, because the work we do is nourishing and positive, gives us a reason to get up, a reason to feel hopeful. Let it be the time where finally, we are able look at the small and large injustices and problems in our own communities and the world, and take them on, one at a time, without flinching, without looking away. Where we believe that love is bigger than hate because we see it every day in our lives. Where we bring our highest good into the world, right now. We’ve been training for this. When we don’t know how to behave, let's imagine how a really strong, kind, principled person would act, and do that.
Because how we live, how we respond to injustice and hate, is all we have. We love, we lose, we die – that’s pretty much it. The only thing we can control is our personal integrity. We can choose to live in fear, worrying about our eyebrows or perceived slights or whether North Korea will blow us up, or we can be forces for good. We can live with hope, or we can give up. We can choose to believe in the basic goodness of humankind, and nurture and delight in our fellow earthlings, or we can put a pillow over our head and wait. As Clarissa Pinkola Estes said in her beautiful essay, we were made for these times. Let's prove it.