November 8, 2016 started out as a day of hope for millions of United States citizens. By November 9 that hope had been transformed into what felt and has continued to feel like a surreal nightmare. As one young friend said to me that day, “This is not the country that I thought I lived in.” Reminding one’s self that this election did not reflect the majority vote is helpful, but it does not change the fact that the person who triumphed in this race did so by unleashing the forces of bigotry and hate.
What can a person do who is struggling with what happened? What do we tell our children, who in many cases have awoken to a totally unexpected world – a world in which bullies triumph and hate speech is condoned. What do we tell our friends from other countries, whose skin color, accent, race or religion have been targeted? What do we tell each other as women, whose ability to have control over our own bodies is in jeopardy?
I don’t have good answers to these questions. I know that in this democracy power is passed peaceably. I try not to believe that all the people who voted for him support these kinds of attitudes. I have heard people say that they voted for him in spite of these attitudes because they are so desperate for change and felt so unheard. Well, good luck with that. You have unleased the genie, and putting all of this anger and hatred back in the bottle is going to be a hard job.
I know that he will be the 45th president. I also know that I can’t give up and stop trying to effect change, be it at the most micro level by the way I talk to someone, listen to someone, write to someone, challenge someone. I will hold my broken heart and sew it back together with words and actions that continue to support the values of caring and inclusion on which I have based my life.
What will you do?
About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP:
Susan is a communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, and proud native Nashvillian. She has been in private practice for over 30 years. As she says, “I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts.” Contact Susan at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com
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5 responses to “The Other Side of the Couch – What Do You Do When Your Heart Is Broken?”
I am bracing for a fight for this democracy. I am going to be more active in talking with my representatives, and encouraging others to be involved. I have joined SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice) and am working with a neighborhood election recovery group to be involved with them. I am going to work with my Elementary School Principal and another volunteer to start a Parents’ Diversity Committee there. I am praying for this country and, as always, for world peace. Being passive is, however, not an option.
Good for you, Marcelle – I couldn’t agree more. Being passive is not an option!
I was also heart broken by the outcome, not because I was so enamored of Hillary Clinton, but because I saw Trump as a threat to our democratic ideals of an inclusive society and to our international alliances. But recently I’ve seen signs of hope as people begin organizing to defend our country. This election has galvanized previously non-political individuals who thought voting didn’t matter. I suspect history will show Trump’s election to be the last blast of reactionary bigotry and hate before demographic changes and the newly politicized voting base inevitably transforms our country into a more inclusive society.
Oh, I am hopeful that you are right about this, Norma. And kudos to you, Marcelle, for being an activist.
Susan, thank you for writing this. Yes, I have gotten involved in ways that I never have before, because I feel threatened, I feel our country’s security and democracy is threatened. To stand for inclusion and again hatred is important for each of us otherwise, we go backward to barbarianism. We will get through this. It’s going to take a lot of love, and prayer.
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