I was shocked when I woke up to the US election results and walked around the whole day yesterday as if I were suffering from a post-funeral hangover. Today I was determined to take on life from a different angle.
Despite promising myself to avoid the news media, I couldn’t resist checking out the Flipboard on my phone. There was my man, Michael Moore weighing in on what happened. I read the piece despite a niggling worry that he’d go all dark Irishy pessimistic, but no. The lines in his article which brought me enormous comfort were these:
“You must say this sentence to everyone you meet today: “HILLARY CLINTON WON THE POPULAR VOTE!” The MAJORITY of our fellow Americans preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Period. Fact. If you woke up this morning thinking you live in an effed-up country, you don’t.”
Much of my grief yesterday was based on the idea that all my countrymen and women had all morphed into the deplorables when I wasn’t looking. The majority have not.
The second thing I looked was an illustrated version of the famous poem-prayer or a prayer poem, Desiderata by Max Ehrman.
I’m generally not a praying woman. I’m more the “Serenity Now!”type, although when things really get bad I’ve been known to recite the first lines of the Serenity Prayer in order to focus. This version of Desiderata appealed to me on a Zen level and as a Crossfitter— we are, as Crossfitters all about the unknwn and the unkwable. It helped me to focus and realize, I can do this. I can get out of bed, get on with life and know that I have the skills to help me get through whatever follows yesterday’s election.
The last thing I read this morning, before hitting the vertical position was short but powerful essay, which I am extremely proud to say was written by my son, Olivier Rutgers. I’ve pasted it here below:
A wall was built,
Between people and politics. Political accountability was never a thing and it has been long decided to keep it that way. The American People kept electing politicians who renounced scientific consensus, politicians that did not represent them economically and politicians that were too lazy to vote on matters important to their people. This disconnect between people and politics led to indifference and relinquished hope.
A wall has been built,
Between people within their communities. The past few years uncovered deep racism and intolerance. Even this year, we learned about shootings in Ferguson MO and Minneapolis MN, that officers who were supposed to protect their community saw their unarmed citizens as a threat. With its citizens, the faith in building a community died. We learned about a “bathroom bill”, discriminating against transgenders in NC. Whereas the LGBTQIA community is allowed to marry in all states since 2015, it is still lawful to discriminate them in the work place in many states under the “Religous Freedom”-umbrella. Neighbours of different faiths no longer walk together, but try their hardest to banish each other from their community, state or country. Not just religion, but business takes a part in this as well, as the native Sioux people of Standing Rock are fought off their indian reservations right this minute.
“Yes we can” was supposed to be translated into “Stronger together”. Because when we strong communities are built, we are empowered.
A wall will be built,
Between America and the World. America has seen itself as the world’s policeman for far too long, while ignoring domestic problems. Funds for infrastructure and education was allocated to the Department of Defence. This allowed military power to grow, which enabled military invasions in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya.
But the world is tired of America interfering. Of it declaring wars without congressional approval AND without approval by the UNSC. The world thinks America should focus on solving domestic issues first, before telling other countries why their systems are wrong. And now, it has chosen a mouthy leader who is frowned upon by presidents and prime-ministers around the world.
A wall could be destroyed.
When America learns it is no longer #1 in the world, and is willing to learn from other countries. When it respects treaties it signs with other countries on global affairs such as climate change. When the ridiculous defence budget is reduced and spent on education and job growth. When if faces domestic problems like poor infrastructure by investing in public transport and maintenance. When it faces the damage done by oil and fracking and starts investing more money into green alternatives. When it starts rebuilding disbanded communities by addressing discrimination and large economic divides. And when it abandones the electoral college and the two-party system and allows fair representation of voting.
Walls are destroyed when people no longer fear each other, or the government. This election has been dominated by fear of the other side. No policy argument was made, only that one was “Not Hillary” and the other “Not Trump”.
But most of all, walls are destroyed when differences are respected, not overcome. That is truly what makes countries great.
I am still an American citizen, and I still love America, but its time for an intervention and apparently Trump is the wake-up call it needed. Let’s hope we can contain the damage he can do and restore America into a beautiful country.
As dark as things seemed yesterday, this 22 year old, who has seen a bit more of the world than most, reached into Pandora’s Box and gently pulled out hope. If a young person can do that in these times, I’m willing to throw my lot in with theirs and refuse to give in to one more day of despair.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.