How are you today? Are you celebrating the new administration? Are you sad about the exit of the former POTUS? Maybe you are like me, still reeling from the ugliness of the campaign season and just a bit numb to American politics in general. This election played out similar to the 2000 election when George W. Bush became the 43rd president. Similar to that year, I spent the day after the election in a fog of disbelief. In contrast, this year I listened to words of encouragement that helped me regain perspective.
Let’s be honest, in an election one side celebrates and plans their next steps while the other side packs up and figures how to regroup. That is the nature of an election. It’s just been a long time since I have thought about regrouping. A year prior to the election I was joking with Wife, telling her that we would move to her parents’ property in Mexico if Donald Trump won the election. I toyed with that idea the day after the election as I was listening to the preliminary results on our local public radio station, WBEZ. They were interviewing people who were sharing their plans for dealing with the upcoming four years. Productive plans, optimistic plans, plans that reaffirmed relationships, life and country. And in listening to those stories I thought of the famous quote, “It is better to light [a] candle than to curse the darkness.”
That sentiment was in so many of the stories I was listening to that day. People planning to renew their commitments to social justice. People planning to strengthen their relationships with friends and family. People planning to review their political involvement and figure how to get more knowledgeable, more active and more effective. It was not a collection of complaints or conspiracy theories,there was no more rehashing of ugly histories, there was no mud-slinging. The stories were lacking some of the hope that has been pervasive in the past eight years. But in the space it left there was determination. And I knew I would not talk any more about moving to another country to avoid this administration. This is my country, here are my people. The president does not change that.
So I lit my first candle that day after the elections. I went to the store and bought a replacement light to illuminate the American Flag that Micompadre flies outside the apartment. A small step, but I felt immediately better. Because you respect the country always; the flag we stand under, the land we stand on and the people we stand with, and you respect the government when it deserves it.