Sunday, November 13, 2016

Riding The Rumble Strip

1) I planned how to move abroad before the inauguration. I strategized what to pack, how to sell our house, and where to go. I investigated the criteria for emigrating to New Zealand. I thought of all the people in the United States who don't have the means or ability to leave. I looked up the qualifications for political asylum in Sweden. I think a black man in America could qualify. I reached out to friends living outside of the US for advice. 

2) I was petrified, quiet, and full of sorrow. I took a sick day off from work and was grateful that I could. I walked in the sunlit beauty of the day and talked to loved ones. Someone practiced flying a small plane overhead. I took solace in poetry and music. I did not listen to or watch the news. I wept. I felt sick with fear and grief.

3) I resolved to fight for my values. To be the storm rather than dread the storm. Hope gained traction as I practiced imagining this sea change as a gift-- a catalyst for positive change, for the rise of humanist leaders, for strengthening our bonds of connection across differences so that we can rise up with one clear, strong voice saying "yes" when appropriate and "no" when necessary.  

4) I puzzled over how to maintain boundaries to protect my joy, my health, and my sanity while staying engaged and informed as a citizen. I do not want to see his face. I do not want to hear his voice. And yet, I need to stay tuned in if I want to be well positioned to take action to protect and promote what I care about in this world.

5) I took heart in the thought that this moment in history is an invitation to be curious and creative in celebration and defense of our principles. I am reminded of a teacher who urged me to understand before seeking to be understood. I am reminded of another teacher who urged me to love fiercely.

6) Time to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Our context is experiencing a seismic shift, but the task at hand remains the same: show up, engage, and do the best we can to respond to the present moment in ways that honor our core beliefs. We must walk the walk (and embrace that our approach may need to be radically different from the past in order to be effective). 

7) Can we draw nearer and touch hands, shoulders? I will need your companionship to navigate whatever lies ahead. There is power in mass and momentum. Please cover for me on my hopeless days and days of rest and I will do the same for you so that these lapses of attention do not translate into collective apathy or normalization of the horrific. Our scandalized morals must fuel a sustained and responsive rejection of injustice, bigotry, ignorance, and fear. They must be more than a flash in the pan. 

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