Here we are. A reality TV star leading our country and alternative facts filling our brains. Have we legitimately entered some kind of alternate reality?
How did we get here? I don’t know about you, but i’m still wracking my brain on that one.
Some nights while I lie in bed, I run through the night the world flipped over. It fell after a hope-filled day; we’d finally have a woman leading our country. Slowly, that hope was swallowed up. The numbers betrayed us. A firewall swiftly fell. I remember lying half-awake, feeling the weight of the news sink into my sleep.
I remember waking up the morning after election day, hearing a plane overhead. Something bad was going to happen. Were we under attack already?
How the hell did this happen? And where do we go from here?
I have family and friends whom I love, and whom I believe voted to put a villain at the helm of our ship. How could any reasonable, any good person look at this man’s actions, hear his words, and support him? I struggle deeply with this question, as I’m sure many of you do.
Maybe you’ve even asked this question: is the dark reality that these dear friends and family are, in fact, bad people? That’s how divided we are right now. And finding a path back to unity feels terribly far away.
Because the reality is, of course, that we all have unique perspectives. We see the world very differently from each other. That’s the only reason this cancer survivor bothered to share his perspective through this blog in the first place.
Perspective shapes our decisions in life. It shapes everything. I can appreciate that. But then, that means there aren’t implicitly wrong or right perspectives. It means my perspective is no more right than the perspectives that led people to vote for Donald Trump. How can that be?
It feels critical to me that we try to understand each other’s perspectives. I don’t think that’s the end of it though. Because while I avoid binary thinking like the plague, I also do not subscribe to moral subjectivism–a notion that we set our own individual moral truths. The truth is out there.
It’s true that our perspectives are ours alone. But I think there might be some deep flaws in how we arrive at our reality. There are cracks through which our perspectives grow distorted. And through that distortion there may lie a very ugly world.
I don’t know where the cracks in my perspective are exactly, but I know for sure that I’ve got them. And I know I need to spend more time working on them.
The distorted world many of us see, amplified in our echo chambers and stoked by alternative facts, show people on two sides. That’s not reality. It never has been. At our best, America is not a land of us and them, it’s a land of we. We are a whole messy mix of people who continue to fuck up big time, yet doggedly coexist. We progress.
Here’s the but, and it’s a big one; progress doesn’t just happen. Time does not generate progress, movement does. Movements throughout history have shown us that progress demands persistence, and progress is painful.
My hope is that in this painful time, we find ourselves and each other again. I’m not there yet. I’m still finding my way. I’m still mad as hell that we now have a president who is, in my estimation, a wrecking ball smashing up against progress. I’m afraid that my daughter will have to grow up in a dark new world.
So I’ll resist.
I’ll resist with millions of others in the streets and on the web. I’ll resist with my work for justice each day. I’ll resist by loving people with a whole spectrum of perspectives. And I’ll do my best to work together to fashion a reality where we work together.