I write this the day after another terrorist attack in London that left seven dead and over 40 injured. The country has not had time to heal from the Manchester bombing a few short weeks ago. On the way home this morning I listened to a discussion on the radio about the racially motivated stabbing attacks on a train in Portland, Oregon. The two men who tried to intervene were murdered. It’s three days since President Trump decided to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change agreement.
In his New Yorker article, “One Hundred Days of Trump,” David Remnick writes: “For most people, the luxury of living in a relatively stable democracy is the luxury of not following politics with a nerve-racked constancy.” Indeed, I’m not the sort who relishes politics. I try to pay attention and do my civic duty, but I confess I’d much rather stare at a drifty bunch of puffy cumulus clouds and ponder imaginary worlds populated by fictional characters, characters whose actions I can control.
Alas, as Remnick suggests, the times we are living in do not allow for many breaks from the news. And yes, this is different. We are in deep, uncharted waters. While the temptation is strong to look away, numb-out or cocoon ourselves, left unchecked, those actions can be dangerous. With 55% voter turnout in the last US presidential election, passivity is part of what got us here.
With each eye-popping headline, with each thread pulled that unravels our democracy a little more, there’s a growing and palpable sense of frustration and helplessness about how to stop it all before it’s too late. What can we do? How do we prepare for what will be a long haul? It may sound simplistic, idealistic or twee, but the opposite of fear and hate is love.
Love is bold and fierce. Love is not passive. Love takes action in order to grow, thrive and win the day. She is the most powerful life force, the force we need to deploy. She votes and gets others out to vote. Love stands up to inhumanity and violence. Love does not hide away. She bands together on the streets with more love. She connects with family, friends and community. She catches her friends who are fearful and faltering and in turn, she allows us to lean on them. She shows up where no one dares to tread. Love does not give in or give up. No. She doubles down, recommits and turns up the wattage. We are here to be the conduits and bearers of that wattage. Wonder Woman? You bet.