Two weeks ago, a rather heinous and contentious presidential election ended when a man, that one could arguably call fascist and nationalist, was voted into the highest office we have in the United States of America. Every side seems to have a strong opinion about Donald Trump winning the election. One group feels vindicated and has becoming openly hostile and bigoted. Their hatred for anyone not like them has been approved and political correctness hasn’t just fallen by the wayside—it’s been napalmed. Another group can’t understand how this has happened and insist that since Hillary Rodham Clinton won the popular vote, she should get the electoral votes as well. However, there is in-fighting as some feminists insist that not all women are created equal and should not have an equal say. I suspect that some of these people also (not so) secretly blame Bernie Sanders supporters. Another group seems to vacillate between horror and blame. It’s the DNC’s fault, Clinton’s fault, if we had just listened and voted for Bernie none of this would have happened. And then there is another group, sitting quietly, confused, trying to regroup, and voiceless shouting, “Just. Shut. The. Fuck. Up. All of you.” I’m not sure anyone is having a good time, including the victors, who seem to be busy throwing temper tantrums because entertainers hurt their feelings.
Then again, there are a lot of us in this country that haven’t been having a good time for years. People who have been out of work and unable to become employed. They don’t know how or if they can fill the refrigerator and pantry, or if they can keep their home—or have any home to live in. There are others worrying about deportation and/or hate-crimes. Some feel “Othered,” even more so than before. All of these people, regardless of who they voted for, are worried about their survival. All of us, regardless of political ideology, are fearful. Survival and fear are a common denominators amongst humans—it gives us a thread to each other. That’s not to excuse the vitriol, the shaming and blaming, the further denigration of the denigrated. No matter how scared or worried about survival we are, were are not given the privilege or the right to hurt others. However, most of us are not at our best when we don’t know what’s going to become of ourselves and our families. Coherent thought usually dissipates at some point in the disenfranchisement. Especially when someone tells us what we want to hear, even if it doesn’t make sense. Because, at the end of the day, all any of us wants to hear is that it’s going to be okay, and that someone is going to make it better. Especially when we have tried to make it better, but nothing seems to be working.
I’m not going to suggest turning the other cheek, loving your neighbor, holding compassion for the less fortunate. However, we do need to remember that regardless of how hateful, bitter and resentful others are acting, that we are part of the same species. And that we, too, have been hateful, bitter, resentful. And we need to let all of that go. But for today, we need to tend to our own rawness and woundedness. Find our own unconditional love and compassion. And then take a baby step or two away from fear. And eventually, let love, instead of fear, be our common thread.