Fear and Hope

Four years ago I was worried.

It seemed unlikely given the polls, and the filter through which I viewed the world, but I was nervous about our election. Shaken by what I had seen from people within, and slightly beyond my “bubble,” as we responded to the most bitter and contentious president campaign I had ever witnessed. I was nervous because I wasn’t sure what would happen if Hillary Clinton was not our next president.

My fears were amorphous. Undefined. A gut feeling that if Donald Trump won the election something very bad was going to happen.

Little did I know what “very bad” would mean.

I wasn’t ready for the misogyny, racism and overall intolerance. The cruelty, intolerance and hatred on full display by people who have been given voice by our president. The pain, sorrow and desperation of people for whom the color of their skin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender put their lives, families and communities at risk.

It has all left me feeling stunned and heartsick.

If someone told me four years ago we’d be locked in our homes due to a worldwide pandemic that would take the lives of over 217,000 Americans and devastate our economy while we fought about whether we should believe scientists or if the US Postal Service is an essential service, I’m not sure I would have believed them.

I would have thought it was preposterous. Like the first draft of a dystopian novel which requires editing because there are too many threads. Also unbelievable because I had faith that the system of checks and balances would prevent anything from going too far off the rails.

And yet here we are.

Now, as we approach the end of our presidential election, I’m not just nervous – I’m scared. I still have no way to anticipate what will happen if President Trump is given a second term. To say it “won’t be good” is an understatement.

But my fear has a counterbalance – hope.

I see people waiting multiple hours to vote. Black Lives Matters signs and Peace flags displayed by neighbors. People in my extended community speaking up, speaking out and creating opportunities for change. I hear friends talking about their new drive to be informed, be involved and make contributions.

And of course I see my children. I see their fear and courage. Their ability to see through the bullshit and demand we do better.

And it gives me hope.

It’s not much. A glimmer. A sliver I can hang on to over the next month.

It is also a seed, that when planted and cared for will bloom into a brighter and better future.