I try to keep an upbeat and positive tone in these posts, but I just can't find it in me today. Not on a day when I woke up to the news that America has chosen a virulently hateful, racist, misogynist climate denier as its President.
I have spent most of the day trying to remember how to breathe. It's been difficult, and I'm not even American. I don't have to put up with him being my President - I just have to suffer the global consequences of it. And there will be consequences.
I want to say something comforting here, but I'm not sure I have words that are good enough. As a student of history, I will tell you that Donald Trump is not unique. There have been people like him before - and there will, sadly, be people like him again. The pendulum of history swings back and forth - for every bright moment of triumph, there are moments of darkness and despair. For every step of progress, there are those who would drag us back.
Don't let them.
Take the time you need to grieve, to process this, to find the breath in your lungs again - and then rise. Vote in your local elections. Vote in your mid-term elections. Find the handholds of society you can grab onto and pull; fight for a system where your voting rights cannot be taken away from you. A system that serves those at the top will never be changed from the top; it will only ever be changed from the roots on up. Be those roots.
Reach down into your bones and find the hope inside, and don't let anyone take it away from you.
.... I wrote a poem last week, for an unrelated thing, but I feel like the sentiment is, perhaps, fitting for this post.
When they speak of my city
they will speak words of salt
and wind and sea-foam,
of the wash and repeat of waves,
a salt fist beating on the rock of land.
The shore calls to the sea
and the sea calls back.
A salt fist beats upon the rock
of homes carved in stone and brick
and mortar, things that last,
things that turn their weathered faces
to the sea and promise in steady voices
'we will remain'.
When they speak of my city,
let them speak of that salt wind blowing,
rapping wind-knuckles on the door of every house,
and let them speak of windows lit bright,
a thousand home-fires against the sea.
(on a winter's night,
they look like stars cut down
to glitter on the shoreline)
A thousand window-lights upon the land,
and on the last stone against the sea,
that solid unconquerable rock,
the greatest light of all – beacon to
the sea-wave wanderers,
a voice that always calls them home.
We turn our faces to the sea and promise
of our city, our scattering of home-fires,
'we will remain'.
The shore calls to the sea,
and the sea