Like more than half the voting population I am devastated by the news of Trump’s victory in the presidential election and feel like I lost my country. I’m frankly having a hard time coming to grips with what’s about to happen to America. My chief struggle now is figuring out how not to look at every white person I see in America as a Trump supporter and thus a racist and a bigot. I’m sure this speaks volumes about my liberal bias, the thought that every Republican must be against human rights and are white supremacists. I hate thinking this way but a pervasive us verse them spirit has settled over me and I feel like I live in a besieged state. I feel especially vulnerable as a poor gay black man. I’ve found solace and solidarity with the millions who feel like me on Facebook which has been a strange source of comfort to me as I read the hundreds of posts of friends family and commentators commiserating over the election results. I’m furious at pollsters who promised a Clinton victory, particularly Nate Silver’s 538. That guy owes America an apology for missing the white rage at the establishment in this country.
So now we’re supposed to fight to preserve the Obama legacy against an emboldened and electorally implacable enemy. Michael Moore just gave 5 reasons not to despair at the elections, a prescription on how to fight back, see here. Can I just say I’m exhausted of that fight. I’m 40 and want to settle into my middle years without fear of retribution and racism that was supposed to be a thing of the past. I’m tired of being embarrassed for my country on the international stage and of being suspicious of my neighbors and friends once they get behind the voting booth. I find myself strangely missing my mother because I need now more than ever a shoulder to really cry on. I feel a sadness that is deep and penetrating and I need time to grieve. I also need time to find the bravery to forgive the less than half the voting population who because of 18th century patrician vagaries (re the electoral college) managed to elect a racist president.
My therapist suggest I channel my feelings into my art as a copping strategy and on that note I did begin a new series of encaustic paintings yesterday. But I must confess my heart isn’t exactly into the new work yet. I told my therapist that art seems ill equipped to combat all the forces arrayed against human rights and dignity for all that exist in the world. Being in the business of helping people manage their feelings my therapist disagreed.
I teach middle schoolers printmaking on Wednesdays and yesterday was our first session after the election and the kids seem as afraid and despondent as the adults. It makes me sad to think they will grow into adults knowing only a much maligned black president and his chiefest of antagonist – speaking in terms of political agendas – as his replacement. I took some relief in their playing and joking and general preteen frivolity because to them the election is an abstraction unrelated for the most part to how they live their daily lives. Life does go on for these kids and us adults too. After all Obama’s election spelled doom and gloom for under half the voting population in 2008, I guess it’s my turn again to hate the president this time. I hope we face the Republicans with all the obstructive force that they lodged against Obama and work to defeat their divisive agenda.
Okay no music this time, not really in the mood. Next I think I will go into this new encaustic series more. Hopefully it’ll inspire me to keep the faith. Until next time do be well.