Like many inside the liberal bubble, I have had (and continue to have) a tough time with November’s election results. Our team lost. Their team won. And by our team, I include the disabled children who now face more bullying, the LGBTQ community who face the possibility of lost rights, Muslims, Native Americans, all people of color, women, and anyone else who now lives in heightened fear of attacks or has faced them already. A fair amount of my dukkha in the last several weeks has simply been in being with individuals in these groups; sharing in their worries, fears, and often their anger.
Some people don’t know what “the bubble” is, or simply don’t believe in it. It’s an abstract term. Like neoliberalism or white privilege, sometimes it’s hard to see, but it is at work all around us. Not sure if you live in the bubble? Your good friends at PBS can help with a little quiz. A trustworthy British newspaper, the Guardian, has a good story about people swapping bubbles. The face of blue-collar liberalism (no, not an oxymoron), Michael Moore, issued a clarion call after the election accusing too many liberals of living in a bubble.
SNL offered a handy comedic visualization:
If you’re still shocked, angry, or in disbelief – as I wrote before – be kind with yourself first. That, at least, was my advice to myself and some of those close to me.
Turning toward Community
And it will come as sacrilege to many, but glimpses of gladness are arising. In less than a week following the election, I attended a candle-light vigil (rally), a planning meeting, from which a wonderful group of new friends has emerged to work together on interfaith issues in our community under the banner of “mindful religions,” and a protest of the DAPL in solidarity with those at Standing Rock. At the DAPL protest, I saw a local lefty agitator and gave her a big hug. We had corresponded a bit here and there on email as coworkers at the local college and she was a facilitator at that planning meeting (small world). And now here we were, along with 60+ other people, together working for a good cause.
I couldn’t help but say that I didn’t think this would be the case had Clinton won.
This is the opinion of the blogger Fu-ketsu as well when she wrote early after the election:
If Clinton had captured the winning Electoral College votes, the progressives would think “Yay, we won!” and be lulled into complacency while Clinton could get away with doing nothing for the progressive agenda or even taking actions (as she has done in the past) against it.
We could argue at length about what could have or would have happened. But the important thing is not that.
It is that we are here.
It is 2017.
And we can make the best of where we are.
On a national level, James Ford says it well:
War and rumors of war sing their little off key melody, the muzak of human existence continues. And of course. Of course. The rich continue getting richer. And the poor, well, fuck them is the order of the day.
But here, at home, in our communities we have opportunities each and every day to reach out to them. This might not be the path for everyone, and I personally have not suddenly become a crusader for the local poor, but – coming back to the personal – to the local – we can each see avenues through which we can serve and be active. If we teach we can teach more to the troubled, we can reach out more to the minorities, we can talk more directly to those who are upset or suffering on the surface.
And we can look into the eyes of everyone else and know that there is suffering going on under the surface. None is free but the awakened.
My own practice has taken me to this. To seeing each person as a holy being, perhaps awakened but likely not. Each one though is a participant in this path forward.
I will become more active in my local Unitarian Universalist fellowship. And I will become more available as a teacher at Mindful Montana and I will see what comes from that. And I will continue to meet with the local Ministerial Association, populated mostly by mainstream (conservative) church leaders, knowing (and experiencing for myself) that they are kind and caring members of my community.
I have no doubt that we have a war ahead of us. Much of that will be internal. Much more (for me at least) will be out on the streets with friends and strangers fighting for the rights of the weak and oppressed among us.
Let us be glad for where we are. Let us vow to make things better.
- If you haven’t read it yet, this November 9 account tells us Why We Grieve Today.
- Look into the practices of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. These aren’t for them; they’re for you.
- Read/Download/Share this sheet on moving from a non-racist to an anti-racist advocate
- “We’re his Problem Now” Calling Sheet.
- Read why “reconciliation with Trump may be impossible for some Christians“