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17 Nov
2016

Hope is Like a Country Road

 

“She Made Him Vote for Hillary!”

The weekend before the election, my friend Barbara and I joined the other 1500 Californians in Reno, Nevada to canvass for Hillary for President and for Catherine Cortez Masto for Harry Reid’s seat in the Senate. Early voting had already captured many votes.  But we were charged with reminding those who hadn’t voted to go to the polls on Tuesday and vote Democratic. Canvassing is discouraging work because many people are not home or won’t answer their doorbells.

Walking on a country road

But we had some good conversations and one of the most memorable was a young man who drove up in his pick-up after I had left some literature at his door. He recognized us as canvassers, asked us to wait a moment while he rummaged in his truck. He emerged with his “I voted” sticker and proceeded to tell us his story. He was a registered Republican but he declared that Trump was too crazy to be our President, so he voted for Hillary. After we thanked him for voting, we encouraged him to tell his friends and family. He laughed and said, “My brother wasn’t going to vote, but my mom told him he had to vote she and made him vote for Hillary.” We shared a common belief in that light-hearted moment before we walked on to the next house.

We Believed His Language But We Did Not Take Him Seriously

I returned from Reno feeling cautiously optimistic. Even as I watched the returns Tuesday evening as the states in the eastern time zones were called for Trump, I continued to be hopeful. But as we all learned by Wednesday morning, my hope and optimism were totally wrong. As former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown mentioned in his column last Sunday, people who voted for Trump did not believe his incendiary language but they took him seriously. The rest of us who voted for Hillary believed his incendiary language but we did not take him seriously.

We now have to take him seriously. He will be the next President of the United States. Many like me are still in shock and disbelief with shattered hopes of seeing Madam President in the White House. I am fearful that the advances we have made for marriage equality will be lost, that the racism, misogyny and xenophobia which Trump gave permission to express will become commonplace, that divisiveness, hostility and attacks on those who are vulnerable and different will be accepted. In fact, I fear that anyone who doesn’t meet or support the standard of the traditional powerful white male will be under siege.

Wondering Where Hope Lies

quote Lin YutangFriends and family in other countries encouraged my spouse and I to consider leaving the US and move to Ireland or Canada. In addition, there are many calls to action from causes and individuals in my email and on social media. I personally am not ready to take action yet. I am still in the process of figuring it out, trying to understand those who believe so differently than I do, wondering where hope lies.

Although I don’t know yet what I will do, I am sure I need to stay here in this country. I will need to gather with other like-minded souls, to speak out, to take action, to take a stand.

I will eventually find hope.  This quote by Lin Yutang touched me. “Hope is like a road in the country:  there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.”

I am beginning to walk the road. Will you join me?

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7 Comments

  • Bev
    I will walk that road with you. There is no alternative but to hope and to fight for our values and for a society of respect, diversity and inclusion.

  • I, too, will make that commitment to walk with you and others who will continue to work for justice and peace wherever we find ourselves. I love the words of Lin Yutang and others that are similar: “we make the road by walking” and Ram Dass reminds us, “we are all just walking each other home.”

  • Thanks Bev for a hopeful quote. I am too bereft, depressed, broken hearted and fearful. I am not ready for action yet and I am avoiding the protests here at Trump Tower, NYC. Just too sad but i know i will find my light and focus in the days to come. Right now I just feel wounded.

  • Thank you all for joining me. I think if we together share hope, we will find the direction our activism must take to resist the actions of the Trump administration. I am not sure yet what the direction is, but I am confident it will emerge.

  • Here now is an opportunity for us to gather in strength as never before. There ARE watchdog type organizations too which we can join, such as ACLU, Common Cause and others! They too can help give us strength!

  • Bev,
    Thanks for your trip to Nevada. (I could not go but wanted to). Also, for the thought-reflection beautiful piece you’ve given us above. Yes—-there are SO many of us still grieving, and it will be interesting to see how Trump tries to “ACT” presidential. I still believe in miracles. Am working hard to walk “the middle path” in the meantime.

  • Good suggestions, Brent. I have been a member and supporter of ACLU for many years and I think it is a valuable part of my commitment to social justice.

So, what do you think?

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