Who We Are and Who I Am
To paraphrase a clichéd t-shirt, “I stood in line for 2 ½ hours to vote, and all I got was this lousy backache.” Not to mention a hole in my soul, although I mean that metaphysically, not literally. Unlike our Vice-President-elect, I don’t believe that a person’s soul is an actual thing; I’m talking about my human spirit, not spectral spirits. Anyway, for a while now I’ve been thinking about what President Obama tends to say when someone in the good old U.S. of A does something terrible, which is “This is not who we are”. It’s caused me to speculate that perhaps if the President finds it necessary to use that phrase often enough, the sad truth is that, yeah, this is who we are. So going into the election I thought, well, now I guess we find out who we really are; we discover our true essence. I wish we hadn’t, as the truth sure feels pretty ugly at this point.
So how do we react to this horror? I’m sure that there are at least a few decent people out there, as evidenced by the fact that as of this writing it appears likely that Trump will lose the popular vote to Clinton. From what I have heard and read, many of them will throw themselves into renewed activism right away, which is great. Personally, I feel a little too battered and despondent for that right now. This is partly because I recently suffered another blow, the death of my mother-in-law on October 31. Ruth Siegel was a fun-loving, big-hearted lady, and my entire family will be mourning her loss for a while. So I plan to do some self-nurturing by immersing myself in the near future in the things that give me pleasure and a sense of renewal: art, music, literature, cooking, old movies (I’m a TCM junkie), and English football (called soccer on this side of the pond). And I intend to continue being the person I’ve always been. Maybe this election exposed who WE are as a country, but it doesn’t define who I am. Which means I’m going to try to keep my sense of humor (even if it’s of the gallows variety), and continue, in whatever small ways I can, to try to make this world a better place. Which may mean simply helping an elderly person with some packages, aiding a sight-impaired person to cross the street, giving a bit to some worthy charity, or other some such actions that might make a difference, no matter how small, while at the same time hopefully causing a fellow human being to smile. Maybe if I do these kinds of things often enough, a smile will return to my own face as well.