trauma & healing

I have many thoughts about the last few days, and hopefully I’ll begin to articulate them soon. But I can’t. Not just yet.

In one of her novels, Ursula Le Guin says something like: When you can do something, act. When you can’t act, gather information. When you can’t gather information, sleep.

Well, yesterday I walked the world in a daze, did what I had to do to get through the day, and then began reaching out to friends, comrades, loved ones, and colleagues — my closest friends, friends I haven’t spoken to in years, and folks I have never gotten to know as well as I want to.

And I am seeing an amazing outpouring of wisdom, coping strategies, calls to action, expressions of grief and fear. Some folks are struck dumb, able to express themselves only in short phrases: Depressed. Talk later. Others are already moving ahead and figuring out their next fighting moves.

So, since I can’t, quite, act yet, since I am still grieving, I have decided to gather information. I want to capture this outpouring, chronicle it, and bring together all the reactions of my friends and loved ones.

… more to come

mark l:

Yeah, here too. Today I feel that I have nothing in common with this country. Maybe you should have taken the UK opportunity when you had the chance . . .

But take heart: progress cannot be stopped forever, only delayed a little while.

Mark

and

I understand how you feel. Today I feel that I have nothing in common with this country. I feel the need to apologize to all my friends overseas for being an American. It’s hard to believe it has come to this.

But take heart: progress cannot be stopped forever, only delayed a little while. Politicians have used bigotry to rally people to their cause before in this country. It’s often worked, but never for long. The mere fact that they are doing so — and that the line they are trying to draw is at marriage — is itself evidence of the progress we have made. Five years ago, if it were even an issue in the minds of most people, the line would have been drawn at workplace antidiscrimination laws or perhaps civil unions. Today — even today — I suspect both are inevitable, and not too far away.

Marriage too will come. Twenty years from now we — and a surprising number of the very people who voted for bigots and bigotry yesterday — will look back in amazement that there was ever really a time when the country prevented two people from marrying because of who they were, just as we think of Loving v. Virginia as belonging to ancient history. If there is a silver lining to the reelection of the worst president in 80 years, it is this: I suspect yesterday took much of the wind out of the sails of the constitutional amendment drive. We can survive state laws, and even state constitutional amendments. They can be and will be changed. Preventing the bigots from changing the constitution is, in the long run, the important fight.

Mark

from mark l and matt w many others:

United States of Canada ... and Jesusland

from some other friends:

United State of Texas ... and some new Canadian provinces

angela h.:

I know, it’s incredibly depressing. Combined with 11 states going for some kind of ban on same sex marriage, civil unions, and/or domestic partner benefits, it seems that the religious right’s culture war, as well as its war on “evil,” has captured a large segment of the public imagination.

aaron b:

most people in the office, including me, are in a deep funk. i don’t know how to reconcile this result with the low approval rating and the “on the wrong track” feeling. did people turn into nihilists in the voting booth? and 11 state const’l amendments…this is devastating. the democrats defaulted.

larisa:

yeah, shock, turning to rage and depression over here sigh.

just keep taking baby steps towards sanity, I guess. baby steps.

best

matt a:

And yes, we’ve both been pretty depressed all day. This is not what I’d hoped for.

matt w:

Hi, Laura. Thanks so much for the e-mail. Yesterday was rough,
especially in the morning. I’m doing a pretty good job of resigning
myself to the reality of the situation, though. He is a monster, don’t
get me wrong–but we survived four years, we can survive four more. I
take heart in the fact that creative, subversive culture tends to thrive
under an oppressive, conservative regime.

Love,
Matt

debbie n:

DN: I’m doing better than many, in large part because I was in Ohio doing voter protection (nonpartisan) work. So I only feel like shit most of the time …

LQ: but i wanted to reach out & extend solidarity to others who must feel as i do.

DN: It is _so good_ to hear from you.

martha w:

So good to hear from you. I am in black despair- worse than ’72, I think, because I think the long term is unbearable. I don’t remember ’72 so well – was in Japan, and, altho I campaigned for McG among expats, the results must have been less all-encompassing from a distance.

Wish I’d known you were doing election protection stuff – I was totally out of all loops and couldn’t find a place to connect and do something. Don’t even have a cell phone to use at phone parties. The worst part of it all is that – unless credible info surfaces that the voting machines malfunctioned, which I haven’t heard anywhere – this is what the majority of Americans want. How can people who cherish “morality” above all believe that a liar, hater, and manipulator is moral? For all his shortcomings, Kerry strikes me as, above all, moral. I truly don’t get it.

larry s:

A friend sent me this yesterday:

Hi everyone,

Especially in light of this election, I’m again reminded that in order to change the world consciousness, each one of us has to make an effort towards peace, this is my aknowledgment of all of you and our unique relationship which makes it special.

Best wishes,

Miriam

There is a story about how two friends were walking through the desert . .
.
During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face.

The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand:

TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE.

They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath.

The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him.

After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone:

TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE.

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?”

The other friend replied “When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away.

But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”

LEARN TO WRITE YOUR HURTS IN THE SAND AND TO CARVE YOUR BENEFITS IN STONE.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.

Send this phrase to the people you’ll never forget. I just did!!

If you don’t send it to anyone it means you’re in a hurry and that you’ve forgotten your friends.

Take the time to live!

Do not value the THINGS you have in your life. But value WHO you have in your life!!!

_

Love,
–Larry

plus friends have sent me these: