First: If you’re a Trump supporter and you’ve come to gloat, don’t do it. I will delete your post. I thought this election would prove that the forces of unity were stronger than the forces of division, but I was wrong. You’ve won; and you’ve made it clear this is still a tribal nation. Go talk to your tribe.
I’m here to talk to mine: to my beautiful rainbow, mosaic, melting pot, polyglot tribe. The openhearted tribe whose hearts have been broken, the generous hopefuls who thought this was our moment to step into the sun.
It’s not. It’s the thrashing death throes of misogyny, racism, anti-intellectualism — I do think they’re dying, yes, but the thrashing can kill us, too.
So what do we do?
Did you hear Hillary’s concession speech? Did you see her face while she talked?
We keep fighting, in whatever way we can.
What ways are those?
My sister got up this morning and made contributions she couldn’t afford to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.
The Center for Fiction here in NYC will be open tonight for writers to come together, share a mic and a glass of wine, talk about what this might mean, about how people feel.
People are talking about running for the small, local offices, to do the grassroots work.
This administration will probably cut the budgets for education, the arts, the environment. It will dismantle the Affordable Care Act. If you can volunteer at a school nearby, at Audubon, at a hospital to relieve the pressure, do that. If you can’t, maybe you could go to Staples and buy art supplies for a kindergarten class. There are small things we can do, until we have our strength back.
And the smallest and most important: be kind to each other. Here in NYC, where so many people are in a sort of mourning, people made eye contact all day as they walked by, smiled, held doors, wished me good day. As did I, to them. Do these things for people, especially people of our tribe who might have reason to feel threatened now in the dark days to come, and notice when people do these things for you. Be mindful of each act of kindness.
Am I planning to volunteer, will I run for local office? Right now what I want to do is crawl under the blankets and stay there for the next four years. Right now I feel stunned, shocked, feel the same as I did the day after 9/11. But I’ll recover. I did then, though it changed me forever. I’m a writer, a solitary profession, so maybe that’s the best thing for me to do: write. I’ll do what I can. You do what you can. Will it be enough? I don’t know. But I do know this: if we do nothing, that will most certainly NOT be enough.
I leave you with a Jewish saying: It is not given to you to finish the work, but neither are you free to refrain from it.
Do every small thing you can. Then, maybe, do bigger things. We can start to build again. Just keep the tribe together.