Heartsick

Much as I have thought (and written) about radical acceptance, I am painfully aware that in the past few weeks I allowed myself to first hope (and then believe) that my country is something it isn’t.

As I write these words, the election isn’t decided but some results are clear. A very very large number of US citizens voted for President someone who is undeniably corrupt, vindictive, incompetent, and dangerous for those of us who are not white, Christian, male, heteronormative, able-bodied, and financially secure. That’s not an opinion; it’s fact. (I won’t defend this claim with evidence; those who care already know, and those who don’t care don’t care about evidence.)

I think, because of the polls and the large voter turnout, I let myself believe that I was going to once again get to believe in what I have long thought of as common decency and common sense. The only silver lining I’m beginning to see on this gloomy fall morning is that, perhaps, in the long run, it’s better for me (and those like me) to let go of those notions. If our dreams had come fully true yesterday, it might have allowed us to go back to a kind of complacency and blindness about who we are that hasn’t served anyone well, especially those we claim to love but are having a difficult time caring for.

We are, it is undeniably true, common. We are no different from any other group of people in any other place or time, driven by all the same needs as those in any other society. We are vulnerable to the same risks and suffering as those in places we’ve long liked to think of as Other in one way or another. We need to accept that and respond accordingly.

But still, I think that today I’m going to accept my sorrow and allow myself to grieve a bit. Until my first meeting anyway, which starts in less than an hour. Life goes relentlessly on.

17 thoughts on “Heartsick

  1. Diane Kukich says:

    I’m with you – knowing that so many people voted for him is horrific even if he ends up losing the election…. As a Delawarean, I am proud that Joe Biden is a candidate for President but heartsick that so many of my fellow Americans voted against this very decent man….

  2. Kate says:

    “I won’t defend this claim with evidence; those who care already know, and those who don’t care don’t care about evidence.” Yes.

    I am sitting with you today.

    • Rita says:

      I had a long conversation yesterday with a fellow educator, which is helping me find ways to move from blaming people to blaming failures of our systems. I began my adult life with a firm belief that education is essential to strong democracies, and I see so much of what’s happening as a failure of our educational system. Too many of our people don’t know what they don’t know about too many things, which has made them susceptible to lies and manipulation. There are a lot of other systemic failures in play, as well–but our failure to educate our people about history and information is a key player here. In my district, most elementary schools don’t even teach social studies. Or, if they do, it’s only cursory and not consistent. WTAF. I’ve been saying for a few years now that our information illiteracy is a national security issue–in a soft voice, because I was afraid I sound like a conspiracy theorist or an alarmist, but…here we are.

      Doing some deeper soul-searching today.

      • Kate says:

        As we’re voting Q-anon supporters into government positions, I’m going to agree that there are a whole lot of people who need to brush up on critical thinking skills.

        And while yes, schools play a part, I also think COVID highlights that we are asking so much of schools/teachers while providing so little in terms of support/resources it only makes sense that things would end up this way.

        It’s such a cycle. I appreciate you doing what you can to try and break it.

        • Rita says:

          Oh, I hope my comment would never be interpreted as a criticism of teachers. I’m critical of the system–and agree completely that it makes sense that things are as they are. They are working as they were intended (and designed) to work.

          I’ve been thinking a lot this week about what being media- or information-literate means. I’ll never stop believing that our lack of it (and our fumbling to cultivate it in our children) is at the heart of so much of what we’re seeing. I think it’s a national security issue. I think we need a response to it like the one we had to Sputnik. After watching the last four years, I’m no longer afraid to say that out loud for fear of looking foolish or extreme.

  3. Kathy says:

    You’ve echoed my thoughts exactly. Again.
    It’s looking possible that Biden might still win and that does give me some measure of hope for what might be possible in the next few months ( well, after January 20th); Although, that hope makes me feel like Charlie Brown facing Lucy with a football.

    But what I truly truly want is for everyone to accept the humanity of all people and make laws and rules and behavior that reflect that.

    • Rita says:

      “But what I truly truly want is for everyone to accept the humanity of all people and make laws and rules and behavior that reflect that.” I want to say: “Don’t we all?”–but clearly, we all don’t. Or we want other things more. The Charlie Brown analogy is too apt.

  4. TD says:

    Dear Rita, At the end of this day, I hope that you are snuggled up with Daisy as I am with Yorkie. Rest well tonight.

    Acceptance comes and goes. A logical statement that challenges all emotions continuously, like the tides of the sea.

    • Rita says:

      It is an awful time, but (I guess) a necessary one. I’m writing this as the election is being declared for Biden/Harris. I feel relieved and happy, but not exactly celebratory. Better than I did Wednesday morning, but not good. I’m glad you have an oasis of peace. We all need to have them and shore them up. Trump is over (most likely), but these fights are not.

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