Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.
- Alan Paton
Dear readers and friends,
I have tried to write a little post, or put up a few photographs, several times in recent days. It has been impossible. Although I have no desire to write about the election, apparently writing about anything else first would be disingenuous. So I will try.
But I will try not to write much, and there will be no rehashing or finger-pointing or ranting. There has been so much of that. In this election more than any other in my lifetime, it has been difficult for even well-intentioned people to respectfully differ. Many voters who supported either major party candidate, literally could not imagine how anyone - especially a friend or colleague - could vote for the opposition. The past couple of months in particular have been a continuous strain on individuals and often on relationships.
Last Tuesday I was nearly giddy with relief as I drove to Town Hall to cast my ballot. It was a beautiful day, and seeing the Stars and Strips bright against the blue sky over the Town Common, I thought of my father - a decorated veteran of the second World War, who carried for the rest of his life the wounds received as a very young man fighting to help end Nazi dictatorship in a foreign land. As I often do at odd moments, I wished I could phone my father and talk about what we were doing that day.
On election night, watching the numbers slowly come in, I tried to knit but couldn't. I tried to eat, but couldn't. Hour after hour the Electoral numbers came in and I finally realized I was witnessing, in real time, the willful self-destruction of my own country. I was living through the beginning of the end of The Great Experiment; this very young and very blessed nation, these United States of America.
Wednesday morning the sun came up, and the world had been changed. Not just my world, or the US, but The World. The effects of this election will be far-reaching and long-lasting. And I am very, very frightened.
I am also glad that my father is not here to see it. And that I have no children or grandchildren looking to me for an explanation.
I remember in the first days after Brexit, feeling that I was tiptoeing around the blogs of friends in Britain and leaving the comment-equivalent of a few hushed words of sympathy offered at a wake. I didn't know if it was the "right" thing to do, or if my inadequate words could matter even a tiny bit to those people who were reeling from a vote they could not believe had happened in their country. Well, now I know: those words mattered. Because the brief lines of support I've received from blog-friends - or even from twitter, where relationships are built on 140-character communications - have meant a great deal to me.
And now I'm crying again. I have had tears in my eyes more often in the past seven days than I would have believed possible.
That is all I have to share. I will leave the comments open, because I trust my readers to be respectful of me and each other, regardless of our differences. I hope you understand that I did not write this post to invite debate; I simply found that I could not write with sincerity about anything else without first trying to express the impact this election has had on me, personally.
If you've read all the way to the end, I thank you.
And I hope to return to "normal" blogging soon.
Edited 16 Nov 220 PM
I'm not going to respond to every comment, because that would be exactly the debate I don't want to engage in. But seeing the direction comments are taking, I will clearly state my personal position just once.
I supported Hillary Clinton 100%.
Not because she was "not as bad as" a hate-mongering, misogynistic, racist braggart with zero interest in ordinary working people before this election, and the attention span of a gnat. Not because "Bernie lost the nomination so that just leaves Hillary."
Because I have watched Hillary Clinton's career for most of my adult life, and I have faith that she is tireless in her efforts to make our country a better place, in ways that matter to me.
There have been many times - going back decades - that Hillary Clinton has done something, said something, achieved something - that left me speechless with awe.
Not my usual state, as you know.
And she has taken endless abuse for her efforts.
But kept doing the work.
I have followed the candidates' own words - not just the news media - their own words - throughout this campaign, and I am genuinely heartsick and, yes, terrified, at the thought of the USA in the hands of the president-elect.
I do not expect ANY candidate to be perfect.
I do not expect to agree with ANY candidate on every issue.
But I would have been delirious with joy and thrilled for the future of my country had the Electoral College truly reflected the voice of the people, whose individual votes would have taken Hillary Clinton straight to the White House in January 2017.