Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Post mortem

Focus is coming in spurts this morning. I'm finding myself typing, then suddenly just staring, overwhelmed by thoughts. I've been something of a fatalist the past few years and have been bolstered by the occasional affirmations that, at their core, most people are good.

I don't have that feeling this morning. If I leave my west coast and/or social media bubbles, what I read and hear is anger... and a desire to punish. That punishment ranges from (in a "best" case, if it can be called that) enacting policies that one side sees as retribution for policies they've felt imposed upon them to (at worst) smearing entire demographic groups.

This rightward swing is a global trend and, I'm not going to lecture about how the rise of nationalism has never ended in anything good. It's all in the history books.

I can only look at how the results affect me. Primarily, I now have to worry about what it will mean to have any federal funding stripped away from my wife's place of employment. With Republicans holding congressional majorities and a president who won't be vetoing their legislation, that's more of a "when it happens" discussion than an "if." The ship has sailed.

I'm fortunate in that I don't have the exposure to stock and housing markets others do, nor do I have children that must be cared for. Oddly, my cynicism has positioned my household reasonably well to endure whatever storm comes.

The same cannot be said for a lot of friends and family. It has been heartbreaking to read and hear the feelings from gay friends. From friends of any other ethnicity. Even from traditionally-conservative friends who didn't love the candidates in this election, but strongly believed in the goodness of people to reject the tacit and overt racism, sexism and xenophobia... and who are, this morning wondering how so many - fellow humans - could not share those views.

We'll have to sort that out with ourselves and those we hold close. It's very pretty and lovely of me to call myself an "ally" to each of them and to stand up for what I believe is right. I fear it does little to truly help people who openly talking about how they're not sure they have a place in this country right now. I have no idea what it must be like to feel that way and how it affects the way they will make decisions in coming months. My life must look easy to them... and I would probably do well to remember that before I start trying to talk about all this in some sort of macro "what this means about America" way.

At some point, I may find some solace, but with so many shoes yet to drop, it's not happening now. I can look at my home state and see the seeds of where we could be: a measure to restrict gun sales to certain people at risk of violence was passed with strong bipartisan support in Washington. A measure to increase the state minimum wage to over $13 has also received that support. A major transit levy appears to be on its way to reality. I have to hope the federal government stays out of my state's lucrative marijuana business. I shudder to think about LGBTQ and women's rights under a new Supreme Court. At the least, I can strive to try and show how the progressive community and state I live in can be a model for others. After all: if we can pass a common sense gun law and minimum wage law together, maybe there is hope.

I haven't seen times like these... these nationalistic, xenophobic times. I've studied enough history to know you don't treat these times like business as usual, though. We all may be living moment-to-moment for a time. The best I can do is be there in those moments to listen and support what I believe to be right.