The body politic

In an odd confluence, I had major surgery scheduled for Election Day. As this was the third (and hopefully final) in a series of surgeries that have gone well, I kept saying I was much more nervous about the election than I was about the operation. But between recovering from the previous surgery, gearing up for this one, and making sure I kept up my responsibilities to my job, I just wasn’t capable of doing things like volunteering with the campaign. I had to put myself first and trust everything would be okay.

Because no one really sleeps in a hospital, I was awake most of the time from midnight to three AM as Trump’s victory went from possible to likely to devastating fact. I’ve felt strangely lucky the past few days, as friends have expressed their shock, grief, anger, and fear, that my body’s demands have forced me to lower the volume on my emotional reaction to the national crisis. It’s also allowed me to do a lot of listening without needing to voice my own agenda, not always the easiest thing.

Here’s what I’ve got, three days in. As my strength returns, I need to be showing up for Black Lives Matter, Bend the Arc, and other social justice movements. I need to be supporting the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, both of which are going to be on the front lines for the next several years. I need to take an active role in making others feel safe and supported. I need to figure out how many hours and dollars per month I want to spend on these causes and make sure I’m hitting or going beyond that minimum every month.

I’ve always admired the Righteous Gentiles, the ordinary people who chose to help Jews survive and escape the Nazis when so many of their neighbors turned a blind eye. I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say this could very well be such a moment in history, and I want to make sure that I’m doing what I can, not just wringing my hands and becoming passively complicit.


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