I express myself best through writing. And as a writer, this quote from Toni Morrison stood out to me in particular:
This is precisely the time when artists go to work—not when everything is fine, but in times of dread. That’s our job!”
She hit the nail on the head. So, partly as catharsis and partly as responsibility, I will try to write about my feelings after the election.
I am mourning the loss of Hilary Clinton today largely because of its deep held symbolism for me. Yes, I believe she was the most qualified candidate and possibly female politician alive today. No, I didn’t agree with all of her policies and choices. Yes, it did matter to me that Clinton was a female. When she left the stage after her concession speech, it was as if she symbolically left the public stage forever. And that is a huge setback for the groups and causes she has fought for her entire adult life. As this article put it,
“To many of us, Mrs. Clinton was representative of every woman who’d been talked over or overlooked for a job, had her qualifications questioned, or been called a “bitch.” She was those times I was told I needed to be ‘nice’ and she stood for those women who were told they didn’t look like engineers (or in her case, presidential).”
It meant the world to me that our current president campaigned so hard for her, as he wants his two young daughters to have a female role model who doesn’t apologize for how hard she has worked but instead is admired and lauded for it.
This was my first election, and it taught me a lot. Perhaps most of all, it taught me discernment about when to speak and when to stay silent. For the past year and a half or so of this election cycle, it seems everyone has been determined to have their voice heard. But my resolution moving forward is to speak less and truly listen more. So yes I am still sad, but ultimately grateful to live in a country that allows its citizens to freely and peaceably choose their leader. Every time I look at Trump, I will be reminded of that truth. I will strive to be reminded of the power of democracy and the people’s voice. They have spoken, now it’s my turn to listen.
Tomorrow I pick myself up, dust myself off, and get back to work because, after all, “that’s our job!”