The Road Ahead
I’ve been trying to process the outcome of the most recent election. I’m still processing, honestly. But I’m extremely concerned, America. And I’m a heteronormative, conservative, white male. I can only imagine how panicked everyone else is.
Actually, I don’t have to imagine. I’m friends with a wide variety of people, but most of them are quite liberal, and many of them are quite the minority in one way or the other. They’re sad. They’re angry. But mostly, they’re fucking terrified.
And I don’t blame them.
We all should be apprehensive about what the world holds in store. It seems like every where, bastions of order and democracy are coming apart at the seams.
There are many things we can blame. We can blame the DNC for running a candidate of the establishment against the opposition’s populist icon, though She was an extremely qualified candidate. We can blame Clinton for failing to unite the party, though she did a good job of it all things considered. We can blame the Bernie supporters for not fully backing Her, though most did. We can blame the Libertarians for “throwing their votes away,” though this is exceedingly dumb as a Libertarian is a conservative voter not a liberal one. We can blame sexism, even though the majority of white women voted for Trump. We can blame racism, despite Trump collecting a surprising percentage of Latino voters. I still don’t get that. We can blame the media for spotlighting Trump constantly, though half the media these days is social media, so that’s on us too. We can blame liberals for pushing society too hard too fast in directions it is uncomfortable with because change is frightening to our reptilian brains, but seriously we need to get our shit together here and that’s gonna frighten people no matter what pace we take. We can blame democrats for focusing the stimulus on urban areas and the markets, leaving the countryside to waste away. We can blame the republicans for making obstructionism a seemingly valid form of politics, stoking the flames of anarchism. We can blame a lot of people and a lot of things, and truth is they all share in the blame. We all share in the blame.
But who’s at fault isn’t half as important as what happens now. And I think that’s what scares me the most. I don’t know.
We appear to be in uncharted waters, living in that famous Chinese curse: interesting times. Trump could surprise us and be an amazing president. The Republican congress could be at odds with Trump, thus giving democrats the leverage to mitigate the damage from any short sighted legislation. Trump could become a puppet for congress, doing whatever they say. Democrats could become the new obstructionist party leading to another 4 years of interminable gridlock. Trump and the republican congress might bury the hatchet and force through a ton of legislation for the first time in recent memory. That legislation might be surprisingly beneficial. It might bring suffering to millions. Maybe the US will enter a new era of isolationism. Maybe Russia and North Korea will kick off WWIII while we’re busy. Maybe the climate will continue to degrade until we’re all living in the Thunderdome. After the upset of Tuesday night that basically NO ONE saw coming, we’re ready to believe that anything can happen. Up is down, black is white, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. We’re ready to believe the world is ending.
But let me tell you, we will get through this.
It will be ok, eventually.
It will be ok because we will make it ok. It’s not going to be easy. If you’re worried or scared, that is an entirely valid feeling. If you’re not worried, you probably should be. It’s going to be a stressful, tumultuous handful of years. Things could get very bad. But we will get through this. Society will continue. The human race will continue. Maybe not in ways we imagined, but this will not be the end of us. And we will be the stronger for having made it through our trials. Nothing has changed except our assumptions. The scales may have fallen from our eyes, but the problems we face today are the problems that existed yesterday, and the people ready to deal with them have not evaporated.
It’s up to us to decide how we will make it ok. Half the population disagrees with the other half. That is untenable. We cannot continue divided. I’m seeing many people digging in, circling their wagons, ready to abandon or eviscerate anyone who disagrees with them. The culture wars are ready to become flat out civil war, to listen to my facebook feed. It’s an understandable response, but ultimately won’t help but to further the divide, making any progress even more difficult. Any group of people involves drama. As the 3rd largest country, we have a lot of drama. But we can resolve and move past our drama. If we want to.
If WE ALL want to.
With empathy, compassion, and a willingness to put the poison and condescension down we can get past our drama. It won’t be easy. Nor quick. But together, as one nation, we can be truly indivisible. Nothing can stop us but us.
Rome burns only if we decide there’s nothing for it but to fiddle.