My Hope in the Wake of the Election

Hope in the Wake of the Election by Jennifer Andersen
Hope in the Wake of the Election by Jennifer Andersen

Today is surely an historic day. None of us knows what it means or what it will look like. Even those in the know agree on this. I read a line on our Facebook page today that said “children need hope”, and I realized we adults do too. How do we move forward without hope?  Hope does not mean turning a blind eye. Hope does not mean living in an alternate reality. Hope means something entirely different.

On 11/9/16, my hope is that more people than ever -a shocking amount- will step up and accept responsibility. That this devastation will be intentionally turned to motivation to face our own biases. I am working on my own racism and transphobia (that is really hard for me to admit publicly).

My hope is that we will stop relying on others to educate us and do the work ourselves…that November 9th, 2016 will be an awakening for many, one that will stay steadfast and not fade with the initial emotion.

In my (ignorant) view, this is what needs to happen. We need to open ourselves to the oppressive beliefs we hold and find the strength to listen to those who do not agree. I am the worst at this. I am passionate. I am impassioned. I am hard headed and inflexible. It is going to be hard work for me to learn to listen to hate. I won’t be perfect, but I’ll be better. I’ll learn when it’s the right time to listen, and when it is the right time to walk away.

My hope is that more people will realize that avoiding these topics is privilege and that standing up and speaking up is a responsibility today more than yesterday.

It doesn’t have to be ugly. It doesn’t have to be hateful. It won’t be rose-colored, either.

If we all mean what we say, we need to find it in us. For too long we’ve blamed others. For too long we’ve let ourselves off the hook- and received support when doing it. My hope is that each of us will find the courage needed to really stand together- to challenge injustice on behalf of one another, and find our voice even when we are uncertain.

You may read these words as idealistic, unrealistic, or as seeing the words through rose-colored glasses. You may be right. I am the average person though. I am ignorant. There is so much I don’t know. I am willing to continue moving forward and I understand the importance of this.

I continue to seek guidance from people and efforts that educate me. These individuals do so happily and kindly because I am open.  I know I have made the world better in these last 18 months by facing my hate filled beliefs and debunking them. I know I have a lot more work to do.

While I cannot offer guidance, facts, or a knowledgable view point, I can offer you this: we can all make the world better. We can break down barriers between different races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, sexes, and all biases that we hold by committing to facing them.

It all feels overwhelming today. The wake of this election is different.  I am ready to work harder. Personal change is a certain way to make the world better. It may not be high level. It may be one person at a time. It may feel like not enough. Right now though, it is all I can do, and it is something. It’s not a little something. It is a big, huge, earth-shattering-world-changing-globally-impacting something.

With all of this learning will come more things we need to learn about- things we don’t yet know exist. We can do all of this while keeping a focus on happiness, joy, and connection, instead of solitude, solemnness and despair.

It will be difficult, and I remain committed. If you haven’t yet, will you join me?

I leave you with this beautiful song. It seems well suited.

THANK YOU to my friend Elisabeth H, and White Nonsense Roundup for their guidance today, and in this journey.

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