Don’t Mourn–Organize!

14656397_10207607212794822_8794118144767213463_nRich and I voted early.  Our site had no “I voted” stickers and the workers made us turn our phones completely off so I wasn’t able to take a photo there. I wanted to document voting for the first female Presidential candidate but that was not to be.  So here’s a pic of me with my voter registration, stamped with the date.

It’s been a long, nasty election season.  I was a Bernie supporter in the beginning but came around to Hillary after she got the  nomination.  I have mixed feelings about her.  I do think she has done a lot of really good work over the years and has had to put up with so much hate and misogyny for being a strong woman and/or married to Bill Clinton, whom people also seem to hate.  I supported Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, though it did make me feel a little sorry for her that she felt it was “her turn” and this upstart guy beat her out.  Now was her chance, and surely the over the top crazy man Trump could not beat her, right?

I volunteer with some older women who are much more conservative than I, and although most of them could not stand Trump, they were willing to hold their noses and vote for him for the sake of their beloved Republican party and their conservative values (even though he really embodied none of those).  One of the oldest women I work with, 92 years old, told me, “You are going to be in for a big surprise!  He is going to win!”  Luckily, I did not guarantee that he wouldn’t!  I can’t wait to see her next Tuesday and let her rib me good.

My friend Tammy sent me this cool sign a few days before the election. I was happy to put it in my yard and hoped no one would steal it or deface it.  🙂  They didn’t.

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We decided to have Election Taco Tuesday with the kids, a play on one of Trump’s supporters’ comments earlier in the race that “If Hillary is elected, there will be taco trucks on every corner.”  Hey, what’s wrong with that?  We love tacos!   We settled in to watch the returns and began to have a serious sense of unease pretty early on.  What in the world was happening?

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We went back to our own place around 9 and Rich eventually fell asleep in his chair while I stuck it out till the bitter end. I don’t know why–I just had to see it happen or maybe I held out a small bit of hope that she would come through somehow.  Once it was over, I couldn’t fall asleep and ended up staying awake till around 5 AM.  It was a surreal feeling.  As a social worker, activist, and believer in social justice, I am heartbroken that much of the work we’ve done over the years stands to be dismantled.  And I am amazed, ashamed, shocked, that so many people in this country have chosen him to be the representation of America.  Shocked.

Those of us on the left will do what we have always done–continue to fight, continue to push that big rock up the hill.  But man, I am tired.  I was hoping for a little rest before I die.  🙂  As my personal middle finger to Donald Trump, I signed up on line to volunteer at a local refugee services program.  And I will keep defending those who are maligned by him and his people, those who are marginalized, those who seek peace and justice in a scary and hostile USA.

Here’s what I posted on Facebook in the middle of the celebratory posts by Trump supporters I know.  Frankly, I am not sure how I can continue to be “friends” with them if they believe in his vision.

Well, friends, I’ve had about 3 hours of sleep and my tummy is upset and I am thinking hard about what all of this means. It appalls me that so many people chose racism, misogyny, homophobia, anger, hatred, scorn, bullying, and white-nationalism as their preference for what this country stands for. It frightens me that a man with so little self control and self awareness and knowledge will now be in charge of important policies and decisions and actions. When “make America great again” means a return to so many things that we have fought hard to get past, it’s just heartbreaking. It scares me that I have family and friends who will live in fear and possible danger because they are not white or not Christian or not heterosexual or not male or not part of Trump’s in-crowd. I think about the wonderful ESL students I taught in Alaska, the marginalized people living in poverty that I volunteer with here in Dallas, the women and girls who are being shown that men can say and do anything to them purely because they are female and men have the power, those with differing abilities who are often left out, the people of many faiths and colors and those who are part of the LGBTQ community who are afraid today. I wonder what Rich and I will do if Obamacare is repealed because that’s the only way we have health insurance right now at age 62–not to mention all of the others who have health care for the first time ever (imperfect as it is). I worry about the Supreme Court sending us back to the dark ages. And more, so much more is on my mind today. As an old social worker and community organizer, all I know is we can’t let this define us and now is the time to get to work to prove that this man does not represent all of us. We have to be stronger in standing up for freedom, equality and justice. We have to speak out at the first inkling that anyone’s or any group’s rights are being infringed. We can’t sit on the sidelines and watch as people are demonized for who they are. We can’t turn away when our brothers and sisters are hated and oppressed. We are better than this. Let’s prove it. Onward!

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