Come together. But how?

Posted on Nov 9, 2016

This morning, like 50% of the American people and a good number of our allies, I am in shock, heartbroken and grieving. The opposing 50% of Americans have won, and Donald Trump will be our next president.

I could spend my day criticizing and catastrophizing, but it is not my way to moan or to blame. The way my mind works, I am always looking for the creative response, the one that answers the question, “So what will we do with this?” It’s the only thing I can see that frees us from being victims.

In his victory speech, our president-elect called Americans to mend our differences:

“Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division, have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.”

The question I cannot answer is: How do you build a bridge with someone who hates you? Either the haters will find love in their hearts or the fearful will find their rage. Which will it be?

According to the Pew Research Center, the top voting issues in this election were:

  • Economy
  • Terrorism
  • Foreign policy
  • Health care
  • Gun policy
  • Immigration
  • Social Security
  • Education
  • Supreme Court appointments
  • Treatment of racial, ethnic minorities
  • Trade policy
  • Environment
  • Abortion
  • Treatment of gay, lesbian, transgender people

For many of us it was our personal passion that motivated us to vote, a single issue that moved us most. These issues will, I fear, always divide us. It is only the deeper human values of character, integrity, respect and compassion that can ever unite us. Otherwise, we will always see the world as Us-v-Them (see my post on 4 November).

So here we are. Like him or not, Trump will be our man. And, as I woke this morning, shed a few tears and watched the news, the words of Oriah Mountain Dreamer came to mind:

“It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul…. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes!’

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.” (The Invitation)

My stand today is for creativity; not as art, but as a way of living. Can we get up after our night of grief and do what needs to be done?

What will I – what will we – create with this outcome? I would love to hear your ideas.

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