On Tuesday I voted for a fighting chance, but by the time I woke up Wednesday, it had turned into a rallying call.
I read the news at 6 AM, and I was due at work soon after. Perhaps that is why I did not plunge into the waters of fear and despair that engulfed so many of my friends, after the election’s results were painfully clear. The previous night had proven there were more people voted for a vile racist/misogynist/homophobe/anti-science fascist than there were folks willing to exercise their right and duties as a free citizen of democracy. I felt betrayed, white-hot rage thrashing in my chest without an outlet. The DNC and the mainstream media seemed—still seem—like a likely culprit, if only because their failure had facilitated a monster’s rise to power.
That is what I carried with me to work, where I faced an entirely different hurdle. More than 90% of my students are either immigrants or born to immigrant parents. All are under the age of ten, but all too painfully aware of the previous night’s importance, and the mornings horrifying results. In each of my classes I saw fear etched in their faces, unshed tears in the eyes of a couple who knew—they knew—their American Dream had turned to a nightmare. I tried to console them, to argue that in reality the office of the President was limited and bound by laws, checks and balances. Some even smiled, but I felt wounded. How could I stand before them and guarantee a future I wasn’t sure of?
Facing my students killed my optimism. There’s no better way of putting it. I’ve been struggling with the words and the courage to confess this.
It has not killed my determination to continue the struggle, nor the hope that somehow the nation and the planet will find balance once more. They burn and I walk the path before me, changed into someone I haven’t come to grips with. Yet, the carcass o what was begs for a funeral, and so I’ll write this damn eulogy.
What lies ahead is terra incognita for me and so many others, not just because of some outside force, but because we’ve yet to find guides to an uncertain future. Perhaps they hover all around us, whispering their wisdom. Perhaps we’ll carve it out of the World Tree as we hang suspended, awaiting transformation and enlightenment. Regardless, we must search for our fractured souls and piece them back together.
Here is where I stand—bereft, perhaps, but resolute—and I call on you to stand with me. The years to come will likely be hard on everyone and we should not shy away from giving or receiving comfort. But neither can we forget the bedrock of our being and the cosmic flame that dwells within. We must commit to resistance in every form—the random kindness of the moment and the revolutionary shout for liberty. Together we can banish fear and live the truth: Our path is ancient and well-trod by those who now stand witness. From beyond and from within our twined helixes, they whisper:
“You are the promise of a better world now manifesting.”
I do not know if I believe these shades of bygone consciousness, these echoes of reality. But I know the fire within must consume something other than me, so I accept their alchemy. I welcome my ancestors’ blessing and stand among the ashes.