That title is deliberate. If you are sick of the whole election you can skim over this post. However, I am, like the rest of the world, and especially Donald Trump himself, trying to work out what happened this week and what the ramifications are. Not living in the States I can only understand the broad brush stokes of the election, not the fine details that are seen close up. But I can see that his victory has given heart to the Right Wing around the world. We saw Pauline Hanson and her cronies cracking open the champagne to celebrate on the steps of our Parliament; Marie LePen was jubilant, knowing that her Fascist movement has just been given an almighty boost.
Because of the time difference in Australia we watched the whole train wreck of an election in real time. Every time the maps and graphs were shown I was hoping that what I was seeing would change. There is always a happy ending….right? The princess gets saved, the murderer gets caught, the cavalry rides to the rescue. Not this time.
Now people are anxious and afraid, people whose lives are already affected by hatred, poverty and discrimination ~ people in the LGBTQ community, Muslims, people of colour, Latinos, women who need an abortion, women in general, migrants, those on food stamps and so the list goes on. To state the obvious, being President of the United States means that Trump’s decisions will affect the whole world. There are real concerns about climate change and humanitarian programmes.
The distrust with mainstream political parties and structures and feelings of hopelessness and alienation are common features around the world. Racism, homophobia, sexism, intolerance are pouring out through the cracks and being encouraged by the political right, both ‘respectable’ and extreme. But at the same time there are those who refuse to be cowed by intolerance, like the thousands have protested against Trump’s victory
While dismayed and concerned for the world, I have been heartened by the blogs I have read. Below are a few that have encouraged me to believe that humanity and inclusiveness are still strong values that are held dearly. If you have a post to share, add the link in the comments below.
In her pre-election post Alys showed me that Americans have an enthusiasm for democracy, and she has an official polling booth in her garage! Her post Dashed hopes sums up her despair. I love that her son wore black to school the day after. The comments are worth reading too.
Celia, who created the Fellowship of the Farmy over at The Kitchens Garden, is a New Zealander by birth but now lives in the US. In her very heartfelt post she writes about how her idea of Home and being Other has been brought into focus by the election. The comments on her post I am an immigrant need to be read as well.
Marina from Letters From Athens, puts the Trump victory in the wider global context in her post A general malaise Follow the discussion in the comments too.
Francesca rightly points out that it is not the time to sit around anxiously navel gazing; it is a time to protest and speak out. Her post is A Saturday perspective.
Ailsa from Where’s my backpack? has challenged us to do something great. In her post, Great she has written the most amazing poem in response to Trump’s victory. It is worth reading just for that, but she goes on to say:
Do something great. What that involves is entirely up to you. Create something beautiful and share it with the world. Write something true from the depths of your humanity and share it with the world. Do something kind for someone in need. Embrace a different culture. Volunteer. Plant a tree. Tell someone how much they mean to you. Reach out to someone in your community you’ve never even noticed before. Try to understand someone else’s point of view. Learn something new. Teach your kids something new. Stand up to bullies. Protect those being victimized. Be brave. Be gentle. Be vulnerable. Nurture. Encourage. Forgive. Love. Shine.
Many of us see that we are in a period of transition, of flux. However, the outcome of that transition is not predetermined. If we want this period of transition to be a transition back to humanity and inclusion then we need to act, to make our voices heard, to stand up for what we believe. How, where and when then become the questions to be answered, and I am still working through those.
But in the short term I am planting my veggie garden. It may seem an unusual thing to do in response but gardening is always soothing. When you plant a seed you are investing the future, and building hope.
As well, our vegetable garden is in the front yard and in full sun and full view of passerbys. It gives the Fella and me a chance to chat with others and strengthen community bonds. I know that others have been inspired to try their hand at some veggies too. So our garden is growing trust and hope as well as potatoes and tomatoes ~ well I hope so!
[Below are some photos of the work in progress. The plants by the fence are from the Last Chance section of our local nursery; slightly battered, but at half the price. The wooden planks are to make edging for the beds and came from our neighbour’s hard rubbish pile. The potatoes are very wizened because they have been sitting around for a couple of months. Even the worms benefitted, as they got the cardboard nursery tray!]