Today has been one of those days. Filled with a particular sorrow that I haven’t experienced except when dealing with the loss of a loved one. Pure grief. The desire to crawl into a small dark place, curl up in the fetal position and let the world and its worries just proceed without me. Some might see my reaction as overly dramatic. No matter how you see it, that’s exactly how I have felt. The truth is I am aware that I’m not alone.
I didn’t curl up in that fetal position; instead I saw students for part of the afternoon and evening. Each who walked in needed to spend a portion of our time together expressing their disbelief over the unexpected upset in the vote and what that might mean for our country. One of my students goes to Beverly Hills High School and he said that all the teachers had classrooms filled with kids today who didn’t know how to process this information. Remember, California is a Democratic stronghold, and while there were some kids who were pleased that Trump won, most were walking around in shock. My student said that the teachers spent most of the time in class today just letting the kids talk about their feelings.
Tonight we have peaceful protests in many major cities. “Not my president,” the protestors are shouting. Some might see this action as too little, too late. I see it as a chance to communicate to those in power that the American people have the right to peacefully assemble and to exercise free speech and they will get out and speak against oppression if it comes to that over the next four years. As Tom Kaine quoted from William Faulkner’s short story, Wash, “They kilt us, but they ain’t whupped us yet.” Amen.
We have to watch, be aware and be ready to get up and out and say, “No!” if unfair social practices begin under this administration. We can’t ever forget that we are “a government of the people, by the people, for the people,” and we, the people, do have the power to make our voices heard.
Let’s hope and pray we won’t need that power, but let’s never forget we have it. That is the beauty of a real democracy.