The day after the US elections…
Nothing can catch me when I’m moving fast
Even those rattling chains of the past
So I’ll go like that arrow but with nowhere to land
I am losing velocity, height and command
We all hit the ground, we all fall from the sky
We burn up, we break up, we wreck and we cry
But we’re bound up together by sight and by pact
That begins with the touch of your hand on my back
~Mary Chapin Carpenter, “Your Hand on My Back”
Link to the song is at the bottom
I sat up through the night, off and on, watching the US election results with first dismay, then a cold, spreading, numb disbelief.
I cried for my county and the greater world a good long time, finally falling asleep with Buzzfeed’s reportage on the iPad in front of me.
After I awakened the results were there for all to see, and in my Twitter feed there was a segment of Donald Trump’s acceptance speech. Watching it in my half-awake state of suspended disbelief it seemed I was watching a stage filled with people who were weary to the bone, whose disbelief at finding themselves there perhaps surpassed my own.
Well — things will be changing rapidly as this day progresses, no point in dwelling on half-formed images and conclusions from last night.
What I am sure of is that it is reassuring this morning to realize that the USA is woven tightly into the fabric of world citizenry whether all of us realize that or not, whether we like the fact or no. In watching the reactions of world leaders in over a dozen countries early today I felt my heavy heart begin to lighten. There are treaties, expectations, the rules of diplomacy.
The generation Mr. Trump belongs to is my own generation — Baby Boomers, the ones who made such a fuss in the 1960s about breaking up The Establishment. The ones who protested the Vietnam war — I was teargassed in front of the Pentagon one memorable day in the latter ‘60s. Those who proclaimed that Love was the fix for most things, that we all should Make Love, Not War, but The Establishment had to go. Somebody stuck a flower in the gun barrel of a Military Police gun, a photographer caught the moment, and that image went as viral as anything could in the years when we didn’t have an internet.
Of course, Baby Boomers went on aging right along with everybody else, and there are those Millennials today who accuse the elders, basically, of having become the very Fat Cats we were so set against back in the day. Further, of being to some large extent the catalyst of the social extremes of today, in which a large cohort of retirees depends on a smaller, less propertied or well paid generation to keep BBs in Social Security and Medicare benefits.
I can’t blame them. It has been disappointing to me, even if unsurprising, to consider how Baby Boomer values morphed as the generation grew up, to the point where Boomers became even better at being The Establishment as those they had once reviled. This election proves that people want to give another good shake to that Establishment.
Perhaps the next President of the United States will be the last hurrah of the Make Love Not War generation? Where BBs seemed to start and where things have ended up don’t feel congruent, necessarily.
I am Baha’i, therefore I do not participate in partisan politics. I vote, I keep up with issues, and with all my heart I will continue supporting those plans and actions that bring people together, that foster mutual respect and tolerance.
Such a point is made about how divided we are, in the USA as well as in many other countries. This is, I suspect, related to the growing maturity of the human race, nudged into higher speed by the internet, by improvements in transportation and communication. People appear at times uncertain about whether to respond to world events with adolescent insecurity and bluster, or with a deepened awareness of how things work, how actions and reactions have far reaching consequences, how we diminish ourselves when we act in ways that harm others. What justice is about, how practicing it enhances appreciation of life.
If we keep on focusing on the rage, the separateness, the hostility for one another will certainly grow… and grow… until we do our best to annihilate one another. And for what reason? Egoistic posturing, absence of empathy, determined to be “right” in our own eyes no matter the cost to others?
Instead of that mindset, I, together with fellow Baha’is and millions of others of like mind, will continue to give energy to bringing humans together. Most want the same things, which are not that complicated and don’t require that others be demeaned or suffer in order for them to have and do what they think they need to. We want love, security for our families, meaningful work, what lifts our spirits. No matter who we voted for.
Loving appreciation for one another as beings held together in the unimaginable vastness of an ever moving universe by the tiniest threads of a great cosmic force — Love — is what enhances the well being of all the systems needed to continue to support life on our Earth.
Hatred, untrustworthiness, and unfairness serve as the concrete boots pulling a gangster victim down, down, down to where the body can be swiftly reduced to nothing but breaking bones.
I have faith that most people have the vision to see the difference.
The banner on this site says the following, which I think is worth repeating here:
Cleanse ye your eyes, so that ye behold no man as different from yourselves…. See ye no strangers; rather see all men as friends, for love and unity come hard when ye fix your gaze on otherness. ~Baha’i
Mary Chapin Carpenter singing Your Hand on My Back: uTube