Morning Thoughts on the Day After The Election
A letter to staff, and daughters, and parents, and sisters, and fellow artists & travelers, board, and students, and kindred shell-shocked, walking-wounded:
After nausea all night, and leaving our neighborhood election watching party unsteady, and losing words throughout the early morning results, the reality of trauma and the challenge of surviving it everyday for the next measure of months and years sets in, and I think of our meeting each other in 3 hours. And calling family before then. My parents – the parents I share with my dear sisters – were born into a Germany that elected Adolph Hitler who staged theatrical rabble-rallies and destroyed a continent in the process and started a world war and perpetrated the worst crime in history. The words now come, as does the urgency:
We will work to prevent the worst. We must protect all we hold dear. We must take care of each other. We must not lose hope. We must create new realities to overturn the ominous, incoming waves of horror. Build sea walls to withstand rising tides. Make art to transform consciousness; to retrain vision; to lift spirit; to heal wounds. We must take care of those made more vulnerable; most in need. We are now civil society. We are the powerful minority. We behave with integrity and confer it on those different from us whom we enlist in forging a different trajectory than what might be. We work to ensure a different history than what our nightmares foretell. We write a new manual for moving forward as a force of dissent. We get fit. We get serious. We get more committed to transforming more than one small pocket of familiar thinking. We engage in the face of alienation. We make more productive alliances. We forge stronger coalitions. We think 10 times more creatively; 100 times more insistently; and 1000 times more humbly in assessing what we do to improve.
We must become a force of citizenship, rebuilding all that is broken; all that is now burning. This city and so many like it were left smoldering after riots, after assassinations, after losing power and possibility for change. It took a very long time to re-right our ships; to return our cities to places we can be proud of; that can be shared by many who were separated and segregated before. We must commit to addressing the war zones; the places that are bleeding; we are all bleeding this morning and we must stanch the wound; we must administer first aid; we must take care of each other. We must nourish and uplift each other. We must be loving and caring and mindful that we are in the minority in our country – and learn from those who have always been such – We have less today than we did yesterday and we will learn to make do with less and refortify; re-arm; re-retrain; rededicate and rehabilitate to overcome this injury; this collective set-back. We will not be over-confident again. We will work to transform reality again. We will honor those we love and admire and take care of the vulnerable and be more ethical, make fewer excuses, write harder, organize with more discipline, appreciate our capacity to be wrong about so many assumptions and ask a thousand new questions about better ways to achieve a better world. We wake up to humility. We wake up to loss. We wake up to damage and pain and the need to recover. Recovery begins... right now. Resilience is every step we take moving forward. This was the wake up. The bomb dropped. The earth shook. Someone else is moving in. We are displaced. We know what it means to be shattered. To be homeless. To be sickened. And be felled. And we will recover. We will stand up straight. We will strengthen our core. We will not take health for granted. We are deteriorating. We are regenerating. Every day. This is the dynamic. With everything at stake.
So let’s talk about it. Whenever you want. We will take care of each other. We will repeat ourselves. We will utter mantras. And become more religious. More spiritual. More God fearing. More people loving. Less alienated. Less alienated. Less alienated.
I’m ready to meet the day. And will still cry throughout. What a world we are giving our daughters. We wage this battle for them. We will make them proud still. And fight for their happiness and safety and empowerment. This world is for you. Let us work to make it so.
painting: "After The Deluge" George Frederic Watts (1817–1904)