Election Reflection – Hope

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The last time I stayed up until 2am watching election returns my mood was much more somber, much more reserved, much more depressed. For the first time since November 8, 2016 I have hope. I have worry – the Republicans are still pushing their taxscam, the President implied my Senator was a prostitute, and the FCC closed the internet last week, but I have hope. I don’t believe any of this needs to be permanent.

While covfefe was the rock that broke the dam and let me see human again, Doug Jones is the light in a very long, very dark tunnel.

McConnell can wait to seat him and pretend he’s not the obstructionist in chief. He can encourage the Dems to clean house while supporting a child molester who was banned from the local mall. He can laugh at his bigotry over his reactions to President Obama and he can relish in his hypocrisy of using social security and medicare while now calling them entitlements and planning to eliminate them from families just like his.

We have the higher ground.

We have always had the higher ground.

This country was founded on a strong central government with limited state powers. How the Republicans corrupted that I don’t know. Probably the same way they corrupted the 2nd Amendment from James Madison’s original intent.

They let their people denigrate the liberal states, while knowing that they couldn’t survive without our invention, inspiration, and tax support. Secede. We’ll be okay. We give more than we get.

I’m determined.

My inner dragon is awakened.

My kids will not live in dystopia or fear.

Rise up. It’s working.

Wise up. Pay attention.

Eyes up. See the whites of their eyes.

Look them in the eye; don’t back down.

Resist.
A pro-choice Democrat who prosecuted and convicted the KKK was elected the Alabama Senator.

I absolutely have hope.

On the 3rd Day of Christmas, My True Love gave to Me:

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…hope.

In reading today’s reflection from the Morneau book, I read this statement: Pessimism can sweep through the human heart.

I have not felt that as much as I have in this past year. One thing after another, beginning with David Bowie and Alan Rickman and most recently with George Michael and Carrie Fisher. I can’t list all of the names that have affected me this year, so, so many, none more important and felt than my mother-in-law who passed away suddenly in June. And then there’s the election. This year has been a lot; too much in fact.

In our home, everything is clouded with the loss of my children’s last grandparent, the only one my youngest two knew.

It’s been a hard balance to maintain, keeping things hopeful for my kids while continuing to honor the memory of their grandmother. I could talk for hours about her, and in the next few months I will talk some more.

This is our first Christmas.

One of the things that was difficult for me was Christmas shopping. I’d see something and think that it was perfect for her, and then I’d remember and walk on by. It was too much.

Then I embraced it.

She loved cardinals. We always gave her a cardinal ornament for Christmas and often also for her birthday in January, so instead of walking past the cardinals, I bought two for our tree. I thought it would upset my husband, but he said we should hang them near the top.

I also went to our local Irish import shop for a Celtic necklace for my close friend, and while I was there, I noticed the candy set out for Christmas. I decided to buy a selection to give to the kids in honor of their grandmother and her homeland, and the accent they knew so well and loved.

It is only recently that I understand that word, bittersweet – the simultaneous joy and sad; the pessimism with the path to hope that we only need to find, to shine a light on the dark.

Meditation: Does too much reading of history or current events threaten your hope? What are some ways of sustaining hope in a world wrestling with so much darkness?

From Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas: Waiting in Joyful Hope 2016-17 by Bishop Robert F. Morneau

The current events of these last few months have been straining. Is there too much reading of history or current events? I don’t know. History lets us see how far we’ve come, and gives us the knowledge that we will overcome all of this, including our new president, which is the most worrisome thing I’ve had to face in these last couple of months, but I’ve seen the hope in the pages of my friends, in Robert Reich and Ezra Klein, in Connie Schultz, and in the recent remembrances and quotations of Carrie Fisher, a strong woman who took her faults and failings and showed us how to live with them and become better despite or even because of them.
We are wrestling with darkness, but whether we light a candle as we curse the darkness, we are still assured that the sun will rise in the morning, and that is our cue to rise as well; to rise up. Hope springs eternal because hope is eternal.

The Election of 2016

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​I’m stunned. I’m also shocked and saddened. Yesterday morning, I awoke at 6:45am so I could take my daughter with me to vote before she had to go to school. We talked about the ballot, why I was voting for some people, why I wasn’t voting for others. We whispered so we didn’t disturb or bother anyone else voting at the same time. I took pictures of both the ballot and she and the ballot and before and after pictures before we left the house and after our election day breakfast at McDonald’s. I was sure that we had just voted for the first woman president. To be honest, that was a bonus. I was voting for Hillary Clinton, someone who I had admired and watched since I was out of college. I learned so much about her over the years; what she believed in, what she did and would do as a public servant.

When she became my senator, I knew she’d work her ass off, and she did.

She was a fantastic Secretary of State.

In 2000, I voted for Al Gore, John Kerry in 2004, President Obama in 2008 and 2012. I voted FOR them, not against their opponents. I did not want George Bush, John McCain, or Mitt Romney to be President, but I knew in my heart that if they became president, they would do their best to bring honor to the office. I am not so sure about that this year.

I can’t express what I’m feeling. I’m usually asleep when my two children get on the bus for school. This morning, I made sure I was awake so I would have time to hug them and talk to them about the election results. They were both worried. My son went to bed with a headache, and my daughter asked if she would be forced to wear a hood. Their reactions did not come from us directly, but from listening to Mr. Trump’s rhetoric for the past eighteen months.

I hugged them, and told them not to worry and we wold get through this. It would be okay. The don’t know because they’re too young, but we’ve been here before, and we’ve gotten through it.

This one is a little different.

I never thought I’d see a President endorsed so heartily by the KKK in my adult lifetime. I never thought we’d elect an open racist and misogynist in my adult lifetime, certainly not in the modern age. The VP, a heartbeat away from the Oval Office is a proponent of gay conversion therapy, funerals for fetuses while limiting the rights of the women carrying them.

This isn’t partisan to me. This is insane.

I had planned on this post being one of my reflections on 50. It was going to be about politics and my lifelong love of politics, but I can’t write about that and ignore what’s just happened this morning. I think I need to take a couple days away. There are some posts scheduled in my queue that will post automatically, and hopefully, I’ll be able to continue my 50 reflections, but today…today truly is a time for mourning.

Crime will go up.

Abortions will go up.

Hate crimes will go up.

Homelessness will go up.

Unemployment will go up.

If you look at the statistics over the last century, I think you’ll find that this is what happens when Republicans are in the White House.

On a personal note, my husband will probably lose his job, which will have financial ramifications for years to come.

This wasn’t one election. This was a lifetime. This will affect those not born yet.

We, as a country need to reflect on the last year; the attacks on women, the attacks on journalism and journalists, the attacks on Muslims and Latinos especially, and the continuing stereotyping of African Americans who according to Trump live in hell and the inner cities. I’ll have to mention that to my suburban neighbors.

We need to look at who we are as a country, as a people, and decide where we want to go from here. We need to pray and meditate on what is going on, in whatever way that each of us does. We just decided that the most qualified person in the last half century still isn’t good enough; we want the reality TV star, who may have only won because his campaign manager took away his Twitter and the FBI Director lit a fire on a burned out shell.

Every. Vote. Counts.

Al Gore told you.

Bernie Sanders told you.

Joe Biden and Barack Obama told you.

When will we listen?

When will we do what’s best for all of us, and not just a select few? For some reason, they think that a thirty year public servant is more elitist than a millionaire who lives in a penthouse and wouldn’t know the price of milk if he were standing in the grocery store.

I don’t know what else to say.

It’s too much to take in. It’s only been real for about two hours for me. I went to bed at 2:15am, thinking there was some hope. I woke up knowing it was over, not wanting to know the outcome, but needing to know so I could tell my kids in the morning that it would be alright.

Hope

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I hope I can get home tonight in time for our television show. I hope the toilet doesn’t overflow before we get paid and call a plumber. I hope Glenn is alive on The Walking Dead. I hope and pray that I will, but today I am still just a bill.

Hope is the pleading in a child’s eyes when the ice cream truck goes by.

Hope is waiting outside the surgery or for the tests to come back.

Hope is the light at the end of a tunnel, and coming over the mountain top.

Hope is the line in the sand between destiny and despair.

Hope is the potential in a baby’s tiny fingers and wiggling toes.

Hope is getting on the right train, but being okay if it’s the wrong one. Nothing wrong with riding it for a couple of stops and taking in the newness of someone else’s something.

Hope is not reading ahead even if it kills you.

Hope is knowing the end of the story, but still thinking it might be different the second time.

Hope (no one’s watching) is licking the barbeque sauce off your fingers.

Hope is a rainbow at Niagara and a pink sheep defying gravity.

Hope is the smell of rain on stone and the tinkling sound of rain on water.

Hope is mist and a thin layer of fog.

Hope is an empty gas tank close enough to the gas station to not run out.

Hope is this close to the finish line and that far from the meadow.

Hope is a waterfall and a stream and a rock all apart and not.

Hope is communion and community and the sun coming up every morning.

Hope is a compass rose and a triquetra.

Hope is a butterfly wing and an endless supply of pen and paper.

Hope is the missing puzzle piece.

Life is hope.

Writing Retreat Weekend, Day 2

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Outside
I took a quick walk around the front of the retreat center. It was a beautiful day, and I should have walked more than I did, but my legs have been giving me a lot of trouble this weekend. I’m not sure why, so with Christmas in just about two weeks, I had better play it safe.

The sun was bright, the sky that perfect blue. I had intended to wander down to this cross that was carved out of the tree stump, but they’ve removed all of the benches. I’m assuming that is to get the grounds ready for winter.

However, that didn’t stop me from checking this out and another tree stump on my way back up to the picnic table. I sat out there reading for a bit, and was so enthralled with what I was reading that the retreat director had to come out and get me for lunch!

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We continued our writing with courage and hope. There are so many things that I’m feeling. Talking to my tablemates and hearing different things from the video (Rob Bell – I believe you can look him up on You Tube) and the musical selections like Star Child by David Haas.

I’m hoping this weekend gives me the push and the anchor that gets me through the rest of the year.

Hope

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Where there’s life, there’s hope.

I heard this today on Supernatural. It was said in a glib, facetious way to put on a happy face, to show that the character didn’t care about his future, but the fact is that he does care. Underneath it all, he’s an optimist.

I would always call myself a realist; or even a pessimist. I have a knack for finding the dark cloud in every silver lining, but slowly, that seems to be changing.

My mantra drones on in my head, it will all be alright, and I think…. I think I might actually meant it.