FIGHT THE FEAR WITH KINDNESS

IMG_0671I’m starting to pull out of the worst hangover of my life. It didn’t come from alcohol. It came from my recent addiction to the news and the results of the 2016 Election. Since last Tuesday night, I stopped watching television. Yesterday, I finally forced myself to listen to NPR and to read the newspaper. But that’s it. I can’t listen to George, Anderson, Lester, or Scott say one more word. I feel betrayed, and I’m in deep mourning.

I know I have to pull myself out of this funk, but it’s difficult. The person who will soon be president of my country does not represent me. And I hate that feeling. Even when my candidates lost (or had the election stolen) in the past, I still felt respect for the highest elected office in my country. Why can’t I do it this time?

Because whenever I try to wrap my head around it, I hear the words–the hurtful, full of rocks and stones words–hurtled by the man who will soon occupy the Oval Office. I hear him referring to “the blacks,” “the Hispanics,” “the Muslims” without any recognition of why that is such divisive and fearful rhetoric. I implore others never to lump me in the category of “the whites” because that means you’ve just lumped me with Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson, and David Dukes. No, thank you very much. Do not judge me by the color of skin I share with such deplorables.

Those who supported the candidacy of the president-elect tell the rest of us to get over it. I’ve heard them say they didn’t do this when Barrack Obama was elected in 2008 and 2012. No? First, did President Obama ever threaten to deport them? Did he ever call them rapists and murderers? Did he ever implore them to turn in their neighbors or risk punishment themselves? Did he ever threaten to take away their rights? Did he ever threaten to take away their health insurance? Did he ever suggest he would date his daughter? And did he ever indicate that sexually aggressive behavior was the privilege of the famous?

I argue they did protest by blocking the President’s attempts to appoint a Supreme Court justice and to strengthen our gun laws, just to mention a few ways the other side protested.

Fear rules now that a man who has declared that sexual harassment in the workplace can be avoided by a woman simply leaving a job where she feels it’s occurring, who wants to abolish health care for millions who can’t afford it otherwise or who have preexisting conditions (although he may be softening on that), and who has a vice-president eager to do away the any rights gained for our LGBT community. Fear reigns in the lives of anyone who is an immigrant.

Yesterday, I saw it displayed at the post office. A young woman from China was behind me in line. She spoke broken English when she asked me some questions about mailing her package. Before I was called to the window for my business, I tried my best to advise her. She went to the clerk right next to me. He didn’t understand her English and was becoming annoyed with her. She turned to me, and what I saw in her eyes devastated me. She was afraid. Fear poured out of her, and she looked to me to help her. I told the clerk I’d take care of it, and he immediately called the next person in line, eager to be rid of the problem. I pulled her over to a counter and went through what she wanted to do and told her what to say to the clerk when she spoke to him again. She smiled and thanked me profusely as she touched my shoulder.

I walked away feeling better. I’ve been listening to those who say we must go on living our lives with more kindness to counterbalance the hatred running rampant in this country right now. It worked for me because for the rest of the day, I felt as if the hangover that had been hanging over my head for a week, lifted.

I’ve blocked and unfriended several folks on Facebook this past week. When a twenty-something relative who only works sporadically and then sponges off other relatives and the government while she finds herself told those of us who didn’t like the election results to leave the country, I blocked her posts from my newsfeed. When a friend from high school posted that anyone who voted for Hillary was insane, I unfriended him. And when another relative posted about her grief and was attacked by another relative for that grief, I cried.

We have the results. This is the reality. If we’re happy about last Tuesday’s election or if we’re struggling with accepting the results, let’s all vow to be kinder. Let’s fight the fear and hatred with love and compassion for all people. It’s going to be difficult some days. Fighting the bullies who have been given permission to act like bullies in public will take stamina, especially when the president-elect doesn’t recognize that he threw this coming-out party for jerks. Hope is difficult to keep when I hear him asked if he thinks his rhetoric went too far in the election process, and he answers, “No because I won.”

But I’m working on it, one day at a time, one act at a time, one person at a time.

Secretary Clinton and President Obama have set our bars very high for graciousness in a time of despair for many of us. Let’s reach their bars and go beyond.

And then pray.

Florida Setting 2

 

 

30 thoughts on “FIGHT THE FEAR WITH KINDNESS

  1. Oh, Pat. I cried when I read your words. They were my words too. I did the same thing as you. I blocked people that I have tried to get along with even though our views were not the same. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I compromised my own happiness and beliefs to get along with people who never understood the greater good. It really helped to clear all the hate from my Facebook wall. I still am having a hard time trying to write. My fairy nymphs are trying to whisper they tales to me but the urgency of their words and the story have changed. I will have to come to terms with that. I read this article this morning… here is where I think many of us are at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2016/11/15/daily-202-obama-in-a-state-of-denial-about-trump-as-democrats-work-through-the-stages-of-grief/582a5edee9b69b6085905df3/. Hang tough my friend. I believe we are in for a rocky ride, the likes we have never seen in America before. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Colleen, hang tough with your writing and do not give up. I found my writing as a way to escape, but this blog post kept pounding in my ears especially after seeing the look in that woman’s eyes yesterday. Your fairies will not let you down. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you, Pat. You most certainly did the right thing helping that lady. We have a blended family and I am petrified for my two granddaughters in Utah. They have been hearing terrible things in junior high and high school. It breaks my heart. Many hugs to you. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Many hugs to you, too. I feel so badly for our youth. And I often wonder how many women he’s sent into fits of depression with his comments about his daughter, sexual aggression, and sexual harassment. I know it’s taken a toll with me on some levels.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I have never been affected by an election in this way before. It is terrifying. If history is any measure of the events to come, I don’t know what we will do. How can you be the President when more than half the nation didn’t vote for you? It boggles my mind. He ran on a platform of hate and derision. I have no idea how our divided nation with unite. ❤

        Liked by 2 people

      • Everyone says each side has been living in a bubble. I think this is a cultural issue. Many of the people who are upset will never get their good paying jobs back. I can’t figure out what they want. The nationalist tendencies are what scare me the most.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe kindness will be the antidote to all the hatred that’s gaining ground at the moment. I’ve never seen an election this bad nor been as stunned at the result. I’ve been told that Trump may change persona now the election is over but I just can’t believe that. Having appointed a white supremacist into one top job and then appointing the top job in Environment to a man who doesn’t believe in global warming is madness. He wants more coal mines, more oil drilling and is happy with fracking. He also wants to break the accords he US signed in Europe over clean air.
    I think Trump is acting against the best interests of your country and should be impeached. The biggest shock of course is just how many people in the US support him so they obviously don’t care much about your country either.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 4 people

    • David, you’ve hit on so many things that overwhelm me right now. Climate change – I can’t even think about what will happen now when we’d finally been making strides. And it’s even scarier to me to think he could change so much from how he was to what he thinks he should be. Then finally, I was totally blindsided by the results certain that there would never be enough people to send him over the top. I’ve been living in a bubble and it was burst with a huge ugly splash a week ago. Thank you for your words of sympathy. They are much appreciated.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I know – I had a bad moment right before I fell asleep last night and still feeling the affects. But as I write, it’s a one day at a time thing. Unfortunately, he’s going to have to do something big right away and then it could take a long time to impeach him. But at least there’s a flicker of hope!

        Liked by 3 people

      • With luck, the various checks and balances will do their job. Although as I understand it, most of those checks and balances usually consist of having at least one of the 2 houses with a majority of the other party. In this case it has to come from his own party – many of whom dislike, distrust and fear him, so you never know.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t even think about what it means. They also are softening toward him because they understand the power they now hold over us. With a Supreme Court justice to appoint (because they refused to allow Obama to do his job), even that third branch will be tilted right. We shall see. And as a writer, I’ll have fodder for years for my novels.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. A beautiful – and beautifully written – post that speaks to me as well as for me. I, too, have been in mourning since the election returns first began to presage the inevitable. On awakening every morning I have to come to grips with the reality that this is not some horrendous nightmare that will dissipate with my first cup of coffee. For the first time, I am grateful that I am closer to the end of life than its beginning, with sympathy for the young, who will have to find a way to live with unimaginable aftershocks for many more years than I.

    Returning hate with hate will only escalate an already dangerously precarious situation — even though it is extremely difficult NOT to despise and resent those coming into power and those who put this travesty in place, especially the record breaking *millions* of registered voters (many Democrats) who didn’t bother to show up and vote.

    I have intensely disliked the results of elections past (particularly after the Florida debacle), but never
    before have I been AFRAID to live in America under the dubious “leadership” of a president I did not elect. This from a Mary Tyler Moore-straight WASP. I can only imagine the horror in the hearts of those in the GLBT, Muslim, Black and Mexican communities – and the mothers of girls.

    The mental health and chronic pain advocates I support are terrified – a feeling echoed by increasingly more of the entire medical community following DT’s recently published and uneducated *opinion* about the “dangers” of vaccines and what he plans to do about it. I pray daily that the shame and disgrace of the McCarthy era will not return to our shores because self-focused politicians are too fearful of reprisals themselves to step up and speak out to keep this hothead in line.

    HOW did this happen? MILLIONS upon millions of Americans giving in to hate and fear, plain and simple.

    They cannot be reasoned with – these hate-mongers – and attempts to “fight fire with fire” will eat us from within. The majority of Americans (whose votes were rendered ineffective by the antiquated Electoral College system), MUST remain a force for good, regardless of the difficulty.

    My own post-apocalyptic article was “Can you hear them NOW?” (see right sidebar for links to most recent posts). I am doing all I can to find ways to recenter and move forward peacefully. Extending kindness is an excellent beginning.

    God help us ALL.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your heartfelt comments. From my place as a WASP woman, I too, can only imagine the horror and fear of those in marginalized groups. But as a woman who has experienced sexual harassment and abuse, I feel traumatized by his horrible comments about women, aggression, harassment, and incest. I still cry when I think of it and it has been more than a week. My husband struggles to understand, but when it happens, he simply holds me until I’m through that episode. Thanks again, sister in peace.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It must be that Y chromosome! Most men simply cannot relate to even the overt sexual harassment ubiquitous in our society. At least I have never been able to explain it in a manner my own male friends and acquaintances were willing or able to understand.

        The “good” men who are emotionally health don’t seem to be able to relate unless something dramatic happens to them personally (most frequently as the result of a criminal assault at the hands of an angry male). They shy away from even thinking about prison rape among male inmates, for example – even though it is what many men fear most about being locked up.

        How could they be expected to find empathy through *understanding* just how horrified most emotionally healthy women were by DT’s morally bankrupt comments, actions and justifications — and how incredulous we remain that he garnered even ONE female or enlightened male vote.

        The male relationship to the sexual act is at the opposite end of the spectrum, so they really can’t see our objections to what sexual harassment at any level represents: a totally unjust dynamic of imbalance that leaves women and girls vulnerable to and fearful of the strength and money-as-power differences between the sexes.

        A great many of the mom bloggers are asking some version of, “What do I say to my daughters? How do I raise my sons with this man held up as a [supposed] role model?”

        Again, both white and male supremacists are lost souls, full of FEAR and resentment at their cores – defending by attacking anything they perceive as “weaker” – bullies.

        **It. is. NOT. okay. PERIOD.** It can’t be allowed to be explained away as “just” locker-room “humor.” Nothin’ funny about it.

        And the entire world needs to hear those words out of the mouths of every single “good” man alive – repeatedly – whether they personally *understand* or not. Only then will we see significant change in the way in which so many women are treated.

        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank goodness you were at the post office to help that woman! Who knows, maybe someone else in line saw what you did and will help someone else. Small acts of kindness go a long way!

    Liked by 1 person

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