Thursday, November 17, 2016

Companions on the Journey

I've had a lot to think about lately, and this blog—half forgotten even by its authoress—seems like a decent place to start writing it out.

First, the obvious: it's been a little over a week now since my American neighbours' disastrous election, in which the outcome that I, and many others, had feared actually did come to pass: the angry, shouty jack-o-lantern with a straw hairpiece became the next in line to be one of the most obviously powerful people in the world, and it was of little consolation that he didn't seem to actually want it.  My guess is that he had actually planned to lose and then make a big stink about a rigged and corrupt system that didn't give him what he said he wanted.

He didn't figure, I suppose, on his platform of hate, suspicion, greed, and fear being enough to carry the day.

I've heard of deaths, mostly suicides, in connection with his win, because people who were already bigoted felt freer than they have in years to torment people who are part of already marginalized populations.  This is even happening up here in Canada; the bullies have always been here, of course, but they have become bolder.  I haven't heard too much of anything happening in my neck of the woods, yet, but given the relatively high levels of racism here, it's probably only a matter of time.

It's been difficult to see what's been happening practically right on my doorstep, knowing that there was very little I could do (since it's not my country) to help avert it, and yet feeling like I share in the blame.  By and large, white people—including a majority of white women—were the ones who voted him in.

If anyone from a Roman Catholic background reads this, they will probably recognize the title of this post as the name of one of Carey Landry's better-known hymns.  (Indeed, this is one that, when I was growing up, popped up at Mass so frequently that even now, many years after I ceased to be a practising Catholic—though I've been to Mass a few times since my closest friend became the organist at a Catholic church earlier this year—I could still sing accurately in my sleep.)  It's been on my mind quite often in the last week.

Actually, my mental playlist since the American election has been quite interesting.  It's also included Melissa Etheridge's "Pulse", "Service" (another childhood favourite hymn), "Let There Be Light" (one that I've learned since I started singing with my Anglican choir), John Farnham's "You're the Voice", and  (somewhat oddly, I admit) "I Walk With the Goddess" and "We Won't Wait", the last of which is widely accepted as the Pagan national anthem.  (Confession: I've been listening to "You're the Voice" for the last several minutes.)  

Aside from "I Walk With the Goddess," though, I think I do sense something of a theme to these songs that have been occupying so much of my mental real estate lately.  The idea that we're all in this together somehow (even "We Won't Wait" refers to taking action to safeguard the Earth, even if it is in terms that imply that neopagans are the only people who care enough to save it because everyone else, especially Christians, are huge assholes who just want to burn and pillage it) is a powerful one.  I suspect that if the world is to survive what's coming, if Trump and his handlers do act on even half of the regressive policies that they're already talking about, there's going to have to be a hell of a lot of cooperation among the people who oppose them.  That's going to mean that a lot of the divisiveness (including, by the way, the not inconsiderable issues caused by white people who think that we're at the centre of all things) that has plagued progressive movements is going to need to be dealt with.  Otherwise it's going to be a fun little game of "Divide and Conquer" while one of the most powerful nations on Earth slides into fascism.

We need to care for each other.  We need to act with justice, as much as we're able.  We need to resist the temptation to see anyone who's different as automatically an enemy, stop instantly condemning unfamiliar people as garbage.  Above all, we need to love, and to act on that love in every possible way.  As a very wise friend of mine recently said, in the end, that may well be what saves us.