Today I Wear Gray

November 9, 2016

Like a lot of people, I'm walking around feeling somewhat numb today. My emotions about the results of last night's Presidential election are all over the place. I'm scared; genuinely frightened by what Donald Trump has said are his primary policy goals, and the implications for so many of my friends and loved ones, for my husband and my daughters and my son and myself. I'm trying, for my children's sake, to carry on as if everything is going to be alright, but honestly? I'm pretty sure it's not.

 

Analysts and pollsters are scrambling this morning, scratching their heads and wondering how they could have possibly been so wrong in their predictions. I've been wondering that myself, reading various takes on the results, but I think Glen Greenwald of the Intercept has the best analysis. Even so, understanding the cause does little to mitigate the knowledge of the depth of the disaster we face. The fact is, we're in the opening pages of a dystopian novel, folks. This is what it looks like when intolerance and hate and fear win.

 

And yet.

 

As I was getting dressed this morning, my mind focused on all these terrifying possibilities, I automatically reached for a black t-shirt, for the completely mundane (and perhaps silly) reason than it matched my mood. It seemed appropriate, after all, seeing as how we've quite possibly just been given a terminal diagnosis for our democracy. After a moment, however, I hesitated, and then reached for a gray shirt instead.

 

Why? Things are dark, no doubt, and likely to get darker. The next four years will probably go down as one of the bleaker periods in American history.

 

And yet.

 

I refuse to give up on hope, and on the goodness that I know exists. I'm surrounded, even in this deeply red, deeply conservative state, by artists: novelists and painters and poets and musicians. I have friends who, though they could easily move elsewhere, stay here and fight, both by creating insanely wonderful art, and by teaching the young people who walk into their classrooms about the beauty of diversity and the importance of compassion and love. And if there are so many here, in this tiny town in this crimson-stained state, imagine how many more are out there, creating, teaching, speaking out against injustice and the darkness. They inspire me to remember, and to add my voice to theirs, and to never, ever give up.

 

So on this day, I won't wear black, even though the world feels dark and full of despair. Black implies the absence of light, and there are many, many lights all around us.

 

Today I wear gray.

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