(The picture above is from the halls of my kids' elementary school.)
I had a post that I was working on for today ready to go about children's books. But it seems trite and can't even fathom posting that right now, when my heart and mind are filled with grief. Yes, grief - it is not hyperbole. Either way, we knew this was what half the country would be experiencing. If you are not grieving, I would implore you to allow those of us to go through the stages with respect. I have voted in six elections and it sometimes has not gone my way, but I have never felt such fear. I am not alone in this and these feelings are valid. 

Reading and writing are my solace, so that is what I'm going to do. I had my day of just processing and going through the motions yesterday and it was hard. Getting out of bed was hard. Going for a run was hard, but so necessary. Eating my veggies was hard. Talking to my kids was hard. Thankfully I have shielded them from most of the hateful things our president elect has uttered. All they know is that mom and dad think that he is unqualified and not a very 'nice' man. I can't imagine explaining in more detail if they were older, and I fear the kind of society that may evolve from this election. Hopefully it's a watershed moment for the majority of those who voted and are disappointed (even as Republicans, of which there were MANY) to have those talks with their kids about kindness, respect, inclusion, and to stand up for our beliefs and for those that need others to stand for them. May the effects of this galvanizing reverberate into the future as they become adults and to future elections. I am heartened by the fact that more people felt this way than not, even though I support the electoral college (although gerrymandering and the loss of many protections of the Voting Rights Act IS a problem) and I support the way our democracy works - hopefully our new president will, too. I am also thankful that my daughter is not of child bearing age, and that we may assuage any damage that may be done to her rights in the next four years - AND the rights of all disabled, POC, LGBQT, Muslims, Jews and immigrants. 

I think I've said this before that I believe things happen for a reason, and ironically, I feel similarly about this election as I did on September 11th. Maybe we need to take one step back, before we can take two forward. I DID fear how a Hillary win would have affected the country - another four years of obstructionist democracy? No fun for anyone. And I think we all had a legitimate reason to be afraid of how his scarier supporters (even an ex congressman) would have handled a loss. Right now social media is RIFE with like-minded folks talking about hope, moving on, boots on the ground, donating to causes we hold dear and doing good in the world. Sure there is anger! Sure there is sadness! There will be protests! California has folks organizing to secede! (Which I think is kind of funny, not scary - unless it happens and then we'll be pretty hungry...) There have been school walkouts! All of these things are our rights as citizens to peaceful protest. In addition to accepting the outcome, we have a right in our democracy to voice our dissent. NOT ONCE have I seen someone talk of violence, or gathering up our 'militia.' I can't help but wonder how things would have gone if our lawsuit-loving future president lost with his alt right and KKK supporters. Anyone balking at the people peacefully marching in city streets, lest you forget - it was YOUR candidate who would not concede to the idea of the peaceful transfer of power. Yes, there are most certainly people who are happy with the election results sharing things about love and not hate, and that they are not all racists, sexists, etc. I hope that it is genuine and gains traction. But it feels like too little, too late. Where where you MONTHS ago when hate was apparently no 'bigly' deal? Sure, you're not a bigot, but you have decided that the hateful rhetoric of our commander in chief is not of consequence. We have now opened the door to an onslaught of legitimizing hate (I am also already hearing stories from my community here in my blue state) and I will do my part, however small, to retaliate. 

Let us ALL put our money where our mouth is, figuratively and literally. How about reading a book written by someone that does not look like you? Learn perhaps a fraction of what it might feel like to be in someone's shoes. I have EXCELLENT recommendations: Between the World and Me, We Should All be Feminists and, yes, Hillbilly Elegy. These are a very small sample of what's out there. They are all super quick and so very informative. Although, right now, some straight up fiction may be needed to do a little escapism. Reading literary fiction improves empathy! Maybe a Harry Potter re-read is in order. In the meantime, I will be giving (even more) funds to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU (among others - here's a handy list), there will be more Moms Demand Action meetings to attend (way to go Washington on passing I-194!!), and modeling for my children. Be the change you want to see in the world.

OK, back to the comfort of my routines next week with book blather and menu planning. Thanks for listening if you've come this far!