bracing for impact.
The midterm elections are two days away. When I sat in my therapist’s office last week I said, “I’m bracing for impact.”
The 2016 election broke my heart in ways I’m just beginning to find the courage to articulate. Here’s the short of it: I believe that people are good. I believe that our collective goodness is god/God/the universe/divine/etc. When my fellow American’s voted for a vitriolic, hateful, fear-mongering buffoon, my spiritual identity was shattered. How could people be God and also elect someone who prompts questions from my children like, “Why did my friend at school today joke that my dad was lucky to have made it to America before the wall was built to keep the criminals out?”
How could people be God and also justify their vote for “the lesser of two evils” when that vote put into office an individual who mocks the disabled, threatens the legal validity and protection of already marginalized people, and gives the green light for brown babies ripped from their parents arms and housed in detention camps? How is this less evil?
It’s so clear to me, not at all gray. The belief that we belong to each other, the belief that we are all walking each other home, the belief that there is no such thing as other people’s children; these beliefs are as inherently true as the blue sky above. So how come 54% of white women failed to show up for my brown children, for our brown children? Please tell me how this happened. Please tell me how these women went to the polls and chose politics over people.
If I sound angry, know that I am angry. Maybe my spiritual identity was shattered in November of 2016, but my anger is alive and well. At first, my anger surprised me. Scared me a little, if I’m being honest. See, I thought I was enlightened millennial. I use essential oils, I do yoga, I dance my prayers, I breathe deeply and steadily, I go to therapy. For a hot minute I felt guilty for my rage, like maybe I wasn’t as spiritually whole as I thought.
I came to the realization that I have no interest in subscribing to any spiritual ideology that preaches passivity a la ‘love and light’ when that means turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering of my fellow human beings. I reject and abhor the notion that to be spiritually well is to have a free pass on holding myself and my neighbors accountable for the way we engage with the world around us. And here’s a truth I’ve learned; if you’re engaging, showing up to leverage your privilege, and generally giving a shit about people, you’re going to be angry with the current state of affairs.
“Gosh, Carmen, you sure do take this stuff personally.” YES I DO AND SO SHOULD YOU BECAUSE WE ARE ALL ONE BIG FAMILY, JANET. I have immense privilege. I live a very comfortable life. And it is not despite those facts that I engage with my rage, and “take politics so seriously”, it’s because of them. I take politics personally because I feel a social and spiritual responsibility to show up for all people, especially those with traditionally marginalized identities. You know who else felt that way? Jesus. Remember that when you use those biblical quotes to prop up your hateful opinions, or justify your vote based solely on your anti-abortion stance.
Please vote on Tuesday. Please remember that politics is another word for people, and how we show up to the polls is how we show up for each other. I’ll be here, rolling on my peppermint oil to keep my pitta balanced. Drinking less coffee to quiet my restlessness. Praying with my words, and with my feet around Memorial park. Loving my people with nourishing food and that godforsaken Halloween candy. I’ll be here, bracing for impact because I am devoted to the belief that people are good and our collective goodness is divine. I continue to believe that we are a people who value each other’s humanity in a tangible way, one that transcends political affiliation. I believe that we will recognize our social and spiritual responsibility to take care of each other every day, and at the polls.