I voted yesterday for Joe Biden. And as I stood in line to vote (we waited about an hour as a socially-distanced line snaked around the block) I took stock in all I have done during this past four years to unclench the dread in my stomach brought on by Trump’s election.
Those of you not in the US may not understand or care much about what’s happening in the US, but for those of us in the US who oppose Trump, it’s all we’ve been able to think about for four years.
I used to be a journalist and was truly objective in my personal political views. I belonged to no political party, because I didn’t like either of the two choices I got. I found things to like in both parties, and things not to like. I trained myself to see both points of view. When voting, sometimes I chose Republicans and sometimes Democrats.
In 2016 I voted for Hillary Clinton for president. I was not an enthusiastic supporter, but there was no way I would vote for Trump. I posted on Facebook “Go Hillary!” It was the start of an awakening for me.
I arose after a sleepless night the day after the 2016 election in deep mourning over Trump’s victory. A mentor told me I’d better be prepared to fight like hell for what I believed in, for I’d better kiss it goodbye.
But what did I believe in? This crisis made it clear. I believe:
- A woman’s body is her own.
- Black lives matter
- Love is love.
- Climate change is real, and humans are responsible.
- Science is real.
- God is not real.
- Greed is killing us.
- Clean air and water are basic human rights.
- Education is a basic human right.
- A living wage is a basic human right.
- Health care is a basic human right.
- I could go on and on
In some ways, I have been radicalized by Trump’s election. I am responding to an existential threat. I don’t see how anyone can sit on the sidelines.
I sewed piles of pink “Pussy Hats” and participated in my first Women’s March that January.
And I have been to one every year since. A sign I got from Planned Parenthood at a rally lives in my car trunk – I take it out whenever I need something to hold.
I opened my wallet to support organizations that were fighting against the Trump administration’s crimes against the environment, health care, education, immigrants, voting rights, and many more.
I wrote letters. I attended lectures. I read books. I made phone calls to strangers. I spoke out, early and often, to express my point of view.
What good did it all do? Did my work convince anyone, move the needle one iota? Or did it just make me feel good? Was I naive to think that an army of women in pink hats was going to change anything?
Yes I was. I now see the depths my country can sink to. How so many people can disregard rampant corruption and incompetence, lying, cruelty, bigotry, misogyny, hatred, and embrace fantastical thinking, violence, and destruction, all because of what? A few more dollars in your pocket? A feeling of “white power?” The right to carry a gun anyplace? A stop to abortion? A gleeful feeling from making progressive thinkers cry?
And what about the Democrats? What a bunch of idiots! I really DO NOT like either party. They get a big share of the blame for taking votes for granted and for nominating some bland old career politican to fight Trump.
The next few days are going to be rough for me as the votes are counted and as challenges wind up in court. I have no sense of optimism. Regardless of whether Trump wins or loses in the end, this is my country – a place where millions and millions of people think he’s the best.
Martin Luther King said “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” It is hard to see that arc right now.
But, texting with a friend this morning, I was reminded that there will come a day when Trump is no longer President. Whether that’s in January 2021, January 2025, or some day in between, this too shall pass. And even if Biden wins, the work is not over – we will need to continue to fight, weary as we are.
For self-care I sewed some quilts this spring, as Covid-19 killed Americans even as Trump ignored it:
We must keep going – must persist – no matter what happens.