What Next? A Subtle Shifting Of Thoughts

Last night I wrote a post about the class acts of Hillary Clinton and President Obama in conceding the election, congratulating Trump and wishing him success.  The irony did not dawn on me until this morning, when I received two gentle admonishments that now is the time to set aside the angst and rage over the outcome, and think of ways to help heal the rift that this election has caused.  The voice inside my head, and the words of other friends, more cool-headed than I, helped me realize that I have not been as gracious as those who I admire for their ‘grace under fire’.

These words from Jim Wright  speak volumes: “But here’s the thing: you can NOT become that which you’ve fought against for the last eight years. You cannot let yourself become the hysterical Chicken Littles, the conspiracy theorists, the raging haters and the drooling nuts you and I have faced down for the last eight years. I don’t want to hear talk of revolution or second amendment solutions or any other such nonsense. Life is risk. Life is challenge and setback. The measure of a person is how they face that risk, how they rise to the challenge. This is no time to lose your reason or your dignity or to retreat into your belly button.”

And I remember the wise words of our First Lady, Michelle Obama: “When they go low, we go high.”

And the words of my blogger-friend Keith, who said to me, “Nonetheless, we must come together as a country. And, we must support the President Elect as his success is ours. I share all of your concerns and disappointment, yet our coming together has to be more from the ground up, as we can not rely only on our leaders.”

Unlike some others, I DO actually listen when people speak, and these comments caused a subtle shift in my thought processes this morning.  I frequently have conversations with myself – two-way, or sometimes even three-way conversations, which sometimes turn into arguments (I never claimed to be completely sane).  This morning’s conversation went something like this:

Me:  I cannot stand Trump and I will NEVER call him “President Trump”.  NEVER!

Alter-me:  Did you even hear what Keith and Jim said?

Me:  Yes, but he is a horrible man and I cannot write anything positive about him … EVER!

Alter-me:  Well, think about this for a minute.  What is one of your biggest criticisms of Trump?  That he is vindictive, loud and obnoxious, right?

Me:  Yes, and your point?

Alter-me:  My point is … look at yourself.  You are doing exactly what he does!

Me:  No, I’m … well … perhaps just a little

Alter-me: And just what is to be gained from it?  You can rant for a day or two, because you need to, but ultimately you are hurting yourself, and your readers will soon tire of hearing the same old rants, day after day. 

Me:  How can I ‘play nice’ with such a despicable man?

Alter-me:  I don’t know … that’s up to you to figure out, ditz!  Think about it … use your brain instead of your mouth for a change.  Just stop with the cussing and yelling, because you’re giving me a headache!

The conversation continued, but the bottom line is this:  While I still believe there are some very real dangers in a Trump presidency, there is a right way and a bunch of wrong ways to make my points.  Some have said that perhaps all his rhetoric over the past year and a half was just bluster, and that the ‘real’ Donald Trump will shape up into a reasonable, thinking president.  I don’t necessarily think so.  I think that Trump is a sociopathic narcissist, just as he has come across on the campaign trail.  However, he will become the POTUS on January 20th.  I have made comparisons to 1930s Germany, and I still see the similarities.  So, I ask myself, what can we, collectively, do to try to prevent an equally disastrous outcome?  And the answer, I think, is open conversation.  Not yelling, screaming and name-calling, but honest, genuine conversation.  And watchfulness. Participation in government is both our right and our responsibility, and it is an ongoing process, not just one we exercise on election day.  Our participation most of the time takes the form of our voices, speaking facts rather than rumours, writing letters to our elected officials, making ourselves heard.  But always, doing so with respect and a calm voice.

One of the things that disturbs me most is that so many in this country were swayed by Trump’s hate speech, his ugly rhetoric.  I ask myself, “what have we become?”  I understand the answer, that people are so fed up and disillusioned with the status quo, etc, etc, etc, that they are ready to jump on any bandwagon marked ‘CHANGE’.  But change is not always for the better, and it disturbs me that the prevailing mentality does not think about this, but merely jumps on that bandwagon with blinders on.

Another of the things that disturbs me greatly is that the brashness of Donald Trump seems to have taken hold of much of the nation.  I see it every day in the grocery store, online, and even in my neighborhood, though to a lesser extent here. We are all a part of the human race, regardless of the colour of our skin, our national origins, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.  Why can’t we treat each other with kindness?  As one friend recently stated, “While much of America seems to be getting more and more divisive, I’m going to be holding doors for strangers, letting people cut in front of me in traffic, greeting all I meet, exercising patience with others, and smiling at strangers.”  I think this is something we can all benefit from.  As I say every Monday morning on this blog, share a smile … it makes you and the other person feel just a little bit better.

I do not think that any of us who write with the hope of making a difference in the world can afford to simply sit back and ignore Trump, as we have already seen what happens then.  I only half-jokingly swore I would move to Canada if Trump were elected, and my daughter and I seriously discussed this on Tuesday night.  But no, running away is not the answer.  I am going to stay, and I am going to continue doing that which I have tried to do all my life:  fight injustice.  I can choose, just as we all can, to be a part of the solution or to be a part of the problem.  I have a voice, and I can choose to use it to build and repair, or to destroy.

Today I am stronger than I was yesterday.  I am coming out from under my blanket of woe and am going to place my brain back inside my head and move on to the next step, whatever that may be.  Enough feeling sorry for myself, for my friends and my country.  Time to move on and figure out what is next.  Many of my friends, people who I care about, stand to lose much once Trump becomes president.  Our relationships with allies overseas stand to suffer under a Trump presidency.  Our economy, our very livelihoods, stand to suffer if Trump actually does the things he has claimed he will.  We need to watch, to speak when problems arise, but also to try to heal the rifts between the two sides of our country that are no more divided than ever in my memory.  How we do all this, I do not yet know, but I am confident that those of us who pay attention, who read, who listen, will find our new direction. At the same time, I plan to take a cue from Ms. Clinton and President Obama and try to be a bit more gracious as I try to find footing in this new era.

26 thoughts on “What Next? A Subtle Shifting Of Thoughts

  1. Can I say, I am so proud of you, Big Sister. It’s easy and understandable to drown in the despondency of having to endure President-elect Trump for the foreseeable future but the more rewarding thing, hopefully, is to rise against this setback.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Why thank you, li’l brother! Yes, i’ve picked myself up, dusted off my knees, and am back in the groove. Just took a couple of days and a few talks with myself. My ‘significant other’ did NOT help, when he said he thought it was a bit foolish to cry over an election, but that’s okay … he will pay for that one! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. On Wednesday I was at a co-working day for people who work alone – thank goodness. Because they are of like mind and I was having a re-run of our miserable Brexit day. Then, as now, the baying mob yelled, ‘this is democracy, accept it, ha ha you lost!’ I find this difficult – how can I not accept that we have lost? Of course I do. But that does not mean I have to like it, enjoy it, accept its implications and not try to do what I can to mitigate its worst impact. Here in Britain some of the people who voted ‘out’ deny, for example, that hate crime has increased (ok, reporting of hate crime has increased so just accept that point, it may just be to do with recording and reporting). They get stroppy when there is any suggestion that racism and bigotry have been given freer if not free rein. Sigh. Now some of the same people are saying, ‘Trump is not the man you saw on the campaign trail’ (as if they know!), ‘there was so much media bias…’ blah blah blah. And the worst of all the comments I received – because of its deeper implications for everything Trump has said – ‘so what if he IS sexist and misogynist, that’s personal, it doesn’t have to affect his Presidential role’. Like you I have grudgingly come around to starting to be the difference. Be kind, polite, courteous, argue rationally and politely with people who say intolerable things. It’s tough. Good luck. You need it. We all need it. And my husband needs it, as he decides whether to keep his US passport or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I certainly do need it! And I am fairly certain that I won’t always be successful at keeping my temper in check, but when I fail, please remind me that I cannot lower myself to their standards! I just learned a new word from you, and I love it! Stroppy! Great word! Thanks! 🙂 Tell hubby to keep his passport … one never knows … 🙂

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  3. Dear Jill,

    I have accused the right of losing any argument when they start with words like “you know, President Obama really hates this country and wants to destroy it; Hillary Clinton can’t be trusted, every word out of her mouth is a lie.” This is such a disservice to the state of civil discourse and the legitimate exchange of ideas.

    Because I will not stoop low, does not mean that I will be a doormat when I truly believe our leaders are doing wrong. Personally, I intend fight back with everything I have to support doing what’s best for all of us. I am still a “Nasty Women.”

    Can I find something nice to say about DT? How about his being a pit bull when he wants to accomplish something? He does like winning.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Make no mistake, I am going to keep fighting as hard as ever when I see injustice or dangerous paths being followed or proposed. I just think it is more prudent for me to try to engage in civil discourse, to be respectful and speak with my mind rather than off-the-cuff. I will continue being as snarky as ever when the situation calls for it. I’m just trying to rein in my bitterness and angst. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What I find really interesting is this idea of special respect you owe to the president, just because he is president. Don’t misunderstand me: Of course everyone deserves respect, but it seems to me that you guys over there are treating your president in a special way? Because he is THE PRESIDENT? I am asking because this is very different to the Netherlands. I don’t think the Dutch treat Mark Rutte differently since he is Prime Minister. If anything they are more critical than before. But of course America has this special sentiment with symbols, right? Your flag… no-one hast special feelings about our flag in Austria, people tend to wave it around for soccer competitions only. 😉
    So…. I think you are still allowed to dislike him, president or not. But ranting in the end only hurts yourself, that much is true. Let’s sit back and watch and wait for a while. Calm caution, peppered with a healthy dose of suspicion, but tempered by politeness? 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I will in all likelihood still dislike and criticize him … I just want to make sure I do it fairly and in a way that makes people think, rather than to turn people off with my rants. I’ll still be doing just about what I’ve always done … I just don’t want to continue down the path of the last couple of days with all my thoughts being ‘gloom and doom’.

      As for the discussion of symbols and the differences in our countries …. it is complex and more than I can address in a comment box, but I will email you soon, and we will discuss. I wasn’t really aware that the PM doesn’t receive special respect over there, but then, the special respect the Prez gets here is frequently superficial anyway. 😀 More about all that in a bit! I have much to learn! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As I reminded someone today, forgiving does not mean forgetting, condoning, nor allowing someone to continue to harm you. The difference is that forgiving means recognizing that others can’t really harm you any more, and finding a way forward that supports you and others you care about. I know forgiveness isn’t, strictly speaking, the issue here – but as you note, rehashing the past does not make the future a better place (although we need to remember how we got there), and as frustrating as it is to see people continuing to hate those who are not like them, it is up to us to be better. I’ve reflected a lot on this for my everyday work life, being in the middle of an 8-month-long (so far) bullying and harassment complaint that seems to be going nowhere – it’s been hard to forgive those who harmed me while watching them continue to avoid acknowledgment and apologies for years of harm. But it is up to me to be better and to try what I can to support our group in moving forward into a place that ensures this will never happen again. Much easier when you feel you have some control – a lot harder for folks in your country who don’t necessarily feel they have a voice. You still need to try! I commend you for listening to your friends, and yourself, and moving forward!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, my friend! Yes, forgiveness is hard, forgetting is impossible. Nor, I think, can we afford to forget the lessons of the past. History, they say, is cyclic and will repeat itself if we allow it. But we also cannot let things fester and eat away at our Zen, for if we do, we are the real losers. I think that is what makes some people so bitter and dark. And thank you for your kind words … they brightened my day! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m glad I read this.

    Of all of disappointments of the outcome is the knowledge that the margins of Trump’s wins were so narrow in many
    of the swing states. But for a few thousand votes we would not be calling Trump President.
    And as in 2000 the Democrat won the popular vote.
    Most of my rage was and still is directed at FBI Director Comey. How many voters decided to toss their votes away or gave them to Trump in the nine days that it took Comey to tell us that he didn’t really have to tell us anything.

    But you’re right. In the final analyses the ability to accept the outcomes that we don’t like is what separates the civilized from barbarians.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I too blame Comey and the people who, rather than read and research facts, are willing to believe anything they read on social media. And, at the end of the day, I blame the mainstream media for much irresponsible reporting. And, I blame the electoral college system, for the popular vote alone would have changed the outcome. But we do ourselves no favours by holding on to the rancor. We must heal ourselves before we can really help heal our nation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • One thing that is true, and this is something about which we don’t have to feel gracious even as we work to maintain a civil stance toward the outcome of this election.

        The GOP has figured out how to game the electoral college system by suppressing votes in swing states.

        The secret weapon in this election was Director Comey.

        How many votes did Hillary lose because the media rightly assumed that whatever Comey had must have been awful.

        Why would the FBI feel compelled to break with precedent by making such an announcement?

        He wasted nine days of early voting.

        Nine days in which people either chose to write in the name of a dead gorilla, voted for one of the two third party candidates, or decided that in the narrative of voting for the lesser of two evils, Trump was the lesser evil.

        Liked by 1 person

        • On these points, I fully agree with you! I believe that Comey cost Clinton the election almost single-handedly, and I believe the other culprit was voter suppression, though some would call me paranoid for saying so. I am amazed how many people, especially minorities, did not even bother to vote. I just don’t understand at all. Sigh.

          Liked by 1 person

          • If people would call you paranoid for making an assumption based on what you can see with your own eyes then they are playing gaslight with you.

            We have every dirty trick on video including Giuliani’s claim to have had advance knowledge of Comey’s decision.

            We have Fox News announcing that Clinton was going to be indicted.

            We have Trump’s surrogates openly discussing the strategy of voter suppression.

            We have the commentary on the drop in Clinton’s lead right after Comey made his announcement. Nine days of voting. If two weeks during a campaign is an eternity than what is 9 days of voting under the assumption that one of the candidates is about to be indicted?

            If this were any other country the U.S. would question the integrity of this election.

            The Democrats did not lose a fair election.

            Liked by 1 person

            • No, it surely was not a fair election. My thoughts on that email that Comey sent to Congress (might as well have sent it directly to Fox!) is that it may have actually been ‘staged’ by the Trump campaign, much as I believe Erdogan staged the coup in Turkey. I’m not actually a conspiracy theorist, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck ….

              Liked by 1 person

              • It’s not a theory when there is enough tangible evidence to warrant an investigation. This is where disinformation makes discerning reality difficult. If everything is a ‘conspiracy theory’ than nothing is is a conspiracy. But that’s illogical. People conspire.

                There is an interesting article written by a New York Times columnist about how he personally experienced the Trump campaign’s ‘War on Reality’:

                The Trump campaign’s war on reality made me question what I saw http://wpo.st/wHqD2

                The campaign made the author question his perceptions even though there was a video depicting what he knew he saw.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Thanks for the link … interesting article indeed! Yes, Trump’s entire campaign was based on smoke and mirrors. I have asked many times in the past year and a half why he was not called on his lies. Clinton was held by the media to a much higher standard than Trump, and his perception became more important to voters, at least his supporters, than any facts. His supporters pooh-poohed facts. I still don’t understand his allure, but I do not trust him, I still think he is a narcissist and cares only about one person … Trump.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Trump’s allure his is narcissism. He radiates certainty which comforts certain kinds of people. It’s important to note that Trump supporters have been voting for the wrong people for all of the wrong reasons for decades.

                    Trump is merely the worst in a long line of self destructive political choices made by racists whites who still have enough power to make all Americans look like selfish idiots with no sense of who they are in the world.

                    Liked by 1 person

  7. Most illuminating post…Excellent counsel from Jim Wright!
    I have always tried to embrace the words of Nietzsche: ‘“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.” 😉 Hugs! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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