"Smiley was soaked to the skin and God as a punishment had removed all taxis from the face of London."--John Le Carré
I'm not a pessimist. A pessimist couldn't have lived the life I've lived for seven-plus decades. For me, the glass has always been half full, the road ahead beckoning, the sky bright (even when it's cloudy), the day long and interesting, the challenges compelling. I don't disregard the dark; I choose not to live in it.
But not this week--and if our president-elect's list of likely members of his administration are any indication, not for the next four years. This man was swept into office on a toxic tsunami of racism, misogyny, bigotry, homophobia, xenophobia, and fear. We're swamped in this filthy, poisonous stuff. We're soaked to the skin. How can anyone feel optimistic about that?
My challenge (and maybe yours) is how to deal with this unaccustomed pessimism. How to shape my sadness, anger, loathing, and apprehension into a vehicle that can carry me forward, positively, through the next four years. How to find the best ways to speak up against this dark, deplorable side of American populism. How to use whatever gifts I've been given to support what's good and right and bright and true in the American spirit. How to act from the place on the planet I live, out of the body I live in, with the resources I have.
It's all well and good for Clinton and Obama to speak about "unity." That's a politically correct answer, and I know why they use it. But "unity" isn't for me. This man is not my president. I will not paper over the differences that are so visible in values, beliefs, and an understanding of what America is all about and who it is for. I haven't found an answer yet, although words like opposition and resistance come to mind.
I'm thinking out loud here, with no conclusions in sight. I'll let myself live for a while longer with my anger, anxiety, and gut-wrenching loathing. But it's not a place I want to be, and I won't be here forever.