Nov. 22nd, 2016

rissicat: (Dharma)
It’s been a couple of weeks, and I’ve been staying off social media – mostly for my own sanity. I will probably stay off even longer, so those who know me might need to reach me directly. For now, I’m sitting back, surrounding myself with the friends I know, and having a long think about this election and about politics as a whole.

You see, more than half a lifetime ago I ran away from home. Not literally of course, I’m too much of a coward for that. (Or too smart. Take your pick.) But I found myself falling in love, and it wasn’t the path I expected to follow in life. It was a joyous detour, and one of the best things that ever happened to me. But I didn’t trust my family with these feelings, because I’d seen how they reacted to others in the same situation, and I didn’t want to deal with the censure or the mocking remarks. Plainly put: I was afraid of my family. So I took myself away for thirty years. I made a new family – one of the heart, instead of one of the blood.

When Mom got sick a few years ago I came back home, and this time (as opposed to all of the Christmases between then and now) I decided to trust my family of the blood with my family of the heart. To my eternal happiness, they were unflinchingly kind and accepting, and for the first time in so very long, I felt like I could trust them. And now this election has broken that feeling. Perhaps it’s childish, but my first reaction was: Didn’t you even think about how this affects *me*, when you cast your vote?

Oh, I get that the impact of all this on me won’t horrible, not really. I’m a Caucasian female, so I’m not at risk for stop and frisk, nor for other forms of racial harassment. I’m past child-bearing age, so reproductive rights and access to birth control won’t impact me. Nor will the proposed legislation to criminalize miscarriages as manslaughter affect me. The new administration has already said they won’t overturn the right to same sex marriages, so that won’t affect me either (as long as that doesn’t policy change). I’m not collecting social security payments, Medicare, or WIC, or anything that helps those in the poorest tiers of society, so again I have dodged that bullet. The new economic policy proposed, the one that will give still more tax breaks to the rich, yeah that WILL hit me, as it will hit all my conservative-voting family. The money to run the government has to come from someone, so suck it up, Middle Class. And the global instability from this election has already taken a big bite out of my retirement plans, but hopefully they will recover. But that’s not the point.

I have a lot of friends who WILL be hurt by these policies. You probably do, too. I’m scared for them, and for what this means for their lives, for their kids, for their safety. For our compassion as human beings. The things that scared you about Hillary Clinton were the campaign product of her opposition. The things that scared me about Donald Trump were the things that he himself said to the American people: political threats, silencing the media, restricting the power of the Judicial branch, telling us that everyone who was different from us is some kind of threat.

We take great pride in being Americans. Most people are wonderful and kind and would lend you a hand, or give you the shirts off their backs, if it was needed. The source of our national strength has been in our ability to band together as a democratic republic – millions of people working toward a better life. So how did so many kind, generous people go to the polls to vote against their own best interests? I don’t know… and it scares me. It brings back the same fears from a half a lifetime ago, when I ran away from my home to a place that I felt was safer, and surrounded myself with friends. Or maybe I’m just hurt that all of these people that supposedly love me never even reached out to say, “Hey, even if we disagree on this, we’re still here for you.”

My heart is still grieving, I suppose. Soon enough, once I feel safe, I’ll get back to the job of fixing this. For ALL of us.

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