The Next Day. What Now?

If you’re anything like me, you spent yesterday grieving:

It isn’t a political defeat that we’re lamenting, it’s a defeat for Humanity.
We’re not angry that our candidate lost. We’re angry because our candidate’s losing means this country will be less safe, less kind, and less available to a huge segment of its population, and that’s just the truth.

And while I still mourn the loss of the country that I believed I was a part of, it’s now time to move forward. I was listening to new episode of The Light Bulb podcast by Storywonk this morning, and Lani said something that resonated with me (and also made me cry – again):

I’m angry. I’m furious. I find this whole thing just so incredibly upsetting. But I can’t make a difference holding onto that. I can’t make it better. And so I have to believe that there is space in my heart to forgive the people that allowed this to happen.

I’m still angry too. But my anger makes me self-righteous and indignant – and you can’t cultivate change that way. Yesterday I said that I want to be a kind, reasonable, and rational human being who strives to make this world a better place in spite of what may be happening around me.

So how do I do that? How do we do that?

Sanderson Jones, founder of Sunday Assembly, provides some suggestions:

Act with love: Smile at someone in the street. They probably want to know they’re in a world of love and kindness. Make the world a less scary place for your neighbours and friends.

Choose your way: what you choose to focus on affects how you feel. Choose the right things for you, and take time before you react to others.

Listen: Hearing people that agree with you is great but more important to listen to those that don’t.  Find spaces where you can be with difference, live with difference and listen to difference without judging.

Contribute: in every street in the country there are people who disagreed with you. Make their world better however you can. Work out your way to be a part of a positive future and take action.

Some tangible ways to make this happen include:

  1. Donate $ to causes that share our values and seek to improve humanity. Those include the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, your local LGBTQ center, and The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights.
  2. Volunteer. Get involved with your local political chapters. Find grassroots organizations and help spread the word or organize a fundraiser. Now’s the time to start planning for the mid-term elections. If you’re looking for something less political, volunteer to take calls with the Suicide Prevention Hotline or The Trevor Project.
  3. Pay it forward. Do something to make a stranger smile today. Leave a book in the subway. Pay for the meal of the person behind you at the drive-thru. Share your umbrella with someone on a rainy day.

While there’s a lot that needs to be done in the political arena to correct the missteps made in this election cycle, it’s more important for us to show unity. We are one country, not two (divided as we may be).

The only way to fight hate is with love.

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