Despairing over the presidential election and the state of our country? You are far from alone.
Here’s a letter to my Washington Blade advice column this week. I was grateful to receive it, because in writing the answer I found that my own sense of sadness and powerlessness began to transform into a feeling of resolve and determination.
I’m a gay man and like everyone I know, I am sick to my stomach, literally, over the election results. I am really, really scared. Actually, terrified.
I wonder what will happen to us gay people. Rollback of marriage equality? Legal, government-endorsed discrimination?
I wonder what will happen to our country with its diverse citizenry. So much hatred and bigotry have come from the Republican campaign.
And I wonder what will happen to our world, which is so fragile. Not only the idea of peace and collaboration among nations but also the existential threats of nuclear annihilation and global warming.
The rug has been pulled out from everything and the people coming into power say they don’t give a damn about so much that we hold dear. I’ve never been so hopeless about everything.
I know you deal with helping people get a grip and see things with perspective. Do you have any advice?
Yes, we are facing awful threats. It makes sense to be scared.
What can you or any of us do? Refuse to be powerless victims. Fight for what we believe in and what we hold to be important, even if doing so has grave costs to us. Stand up for what is right, no matter the risk.
Throughout our lives, we’ve all heard the importance of doing these things. They sure seemed a lot more abstract than they do now.
I tell my clients that there are no guarantees, that we don’t always get what we want and that the best we can do is to do our best, although we don’t know what the outcome will be.
Those words are a lot easier to accept when what’s at stake is a disappointed spouse or our own dissatisfaction with how a relationship or job is progressing.
But what is at stake now is so much bigger. Not having things turn out as we would hope is beyond terrifying when it comes to having a government that doesn’t respect all citizens and does not recognize the need for cooperation among all humanity. When our survival, in so many senses of the word, is at stake.
Take courage in knowing that you are not alone, not by a long shot. And seek out ways that you can join with others in the struggle to create a just country and a safe world. We don’t know how our work will turn out, but we can pour our hearts and souls into the effort and hope we will prevail.