Just as it was for 59,938,290 other voters, the morning of Nov. 9, 2016, was excruciatingly hard for me to face. Still on a high from lincolncriesthe Cubs’ World Series Championship, I had been planning on a “When Pigs Fly” victory post this week, with shots of Ross and Rizzo hoisting the championship trophy and photos of our first female president-elect Hillary Clinton giving her acceptance speech. Wow! It’s like whiplash—first the championship, then this. This nightmare. This appalling, ghastly election night.

Our family has been through quite a bit in the last 15 years, and I no longer shed tears as easily as I did. In fact, the last 6 months have been filled with unexpected shocks—but no tears. And indeed, I shed no tears on election night, yesterday morning, or today. And I won’t—not for any politician. However, that doesn’t mean our family hasn’t been filled with angst, fear, and dread—a pretty paralyzing combination if allowed to grow. But we’re not going to let it grow. It stops here—and it stops now.

Yesterday, I heard from many friends on Facebook who are teachers in the Chicago area and did not know how to face their students or what to tell their classrooms filled with the fallen faces of young idealists. What do you say? Our college sophomore stormed through the house yesterday morning: “I do NOT want to talk about the election,” as if it were a bad date. She did not participate in the protests but instead swept into the house last night: “Do NOT even talk to me about the election.” What can you say to the young voters?

Yesterday, I posted on Facebook about wanting to pull the covers over my head and hide. A high school friend who now lives in North Carolina posted that she is allowing herself 7 days to mourn. She and her wife have an African-American child and a special-needs child. She is also actively involved in Syrian refugee relief. Her words were so encouraging! If she can be strong, then I, in my traditional, white, suburban middle class family in all-inclusive, liberal Chicago, can certainly be strong. 7 days to mourn. That made sense!

Yesterday, one of my dearest life-long friends took a stand on Facebook with a beautifully articulated post. She threw in thwomanstronge gauntlet from Colorado. And another post went up from a brand-new friend with a 4-point plan that details the causes to which she is recommitting herself. Women warriors all!

Today,
I was able to pass the strength I gained from these women to another friend in North Carolina, who felt her vote no longer counted. My thoughts on going forward are distilled into my reply to my friend:

I too am disgusted and heartbroken. Our system is screwed up–but I still have to believe that our votes count. Your vote counts doubly, since you are a liberal living in the southeast! I’m doing what our classmate XXXXXXX  is doing: I’m giving myself 7 days to mourn this huge loss. Then, I’m going to continue the good fight–the fight against hate, racism, bigotry, misogynism, isolationism, and war as well as the fight for love, compassion, human rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, equal rights, low-cost medicine, low-cost higher education, to name but a few. Please join me!

 

I am not going to “unite” (give in/roll over) to the hate-mongers. I am going to support our liberal members of Congress and encourage our moderate members of the RNC to cross the aisle and block the new administration at every negative turn, just as the conservatives did to Obama for eight years. The “mandate of the people” is not with this administration or this Congress. Clinton won the popular vote—and we will continue the good fight to bring compassion and care to all who live in the U.S. and to further peace throughout the world.

 If we women all choose our good fights, we can show our daughters, and our sons, how strong we truly are and what we are capable of doing in spite of the election.

For further inspiration, I am appending the first few stanzas of “I Am Woman”, the unofficial anthem to the 1970s’ “Women’s Lib” movement. I think our daughters, grand-daughters, nieces, and young friends might take some inspiration from these lyrics.

reddy-i_am_womanI Am Woman

–Helen Reddy

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
(Strong)
I am invincible
(Invincible)
I am woman

You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
(Strong)
I am invincible
(Invincible)
I am woman

I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land . . .