Five Things That Give Me Hope Right Now

Five things that give me hope right now:


1. Cities. Thank you to The Stranger for articulating the power and hope of cities over and over again since the first bad days, when Bush was elected. (Side note: I started to write “dark days, when Bush was elected” but I caught it. We don’t get to use dark as a stand in for bad anymore. At all. I am actually thankful for the ways that the little racisms, the so-called “micro-aggressions” are now in question because everything is. Anyway.) The Stranger coined the term “Urban Archipelago” after the election of Bush II to denote the connected force for tolerance and cooperation and progressive thinking that cities in America are. Check out their latest missive on the power cities in the face of Trump Fuckedupedness here.

2. The man who walks his dog by the creek. I’ve seen this man for years on my daily walk. I am a green-haired, sex-positive, liberal witch who sometimes talks to trees in front of strangers with my off-leash border-collie golden mix. He is a sixty-something white guy with a German pointer and a certain kind of old white guy hat – which I rightly or wrongly always associate with sexism, racism and general wrongness. Such a judgy liberal, I am. Plus, the scowl that he always directed at me and my dog didn’t help my open-mindedness. We have never spoken. He scowls and I redirect to the trees and keep my dog away from his dog. But the morning after the election I was down at the creek and I saw him. I know my face was drawn by crying for hours already. When I saw him walking toward me, I thought “He voted for Trump.”  But as he drew closer I saw the same grief and lines on his face that I could feel on mine. We slowed as we approached each other, which we had never done before. And then he spoke to me, which he had never done before. “How are you?” he said. “Awful,” I said. “So awful.” “Yes,” he said. We stared at each other for a long time, seeing each other for the first time, united in terrible grief. “It’s a terrible day,” he said, shaking his head. “A terrible, terrible day.” We stood there, quiet, not knowing what to say, not wanting to leave the connection of our grief, of seeing each other and being seen. He is out there now, and I was wrong about the hate in his heart.


3. This quote from Pramilla Jayapal, our new representative, who is the first Indian-American woman elected to congress and who is also the founder of the immigrant rights organization OneAmerica, and who I have had the pleasure of meeting and talking with and hearing her extraordinary mind at work. She said:


"If there's one thing we know about this country—none of these things are new to us. We have fought these battles over and over again and we have won—maybe not as big as we would like, maybe not when we would like, but we will win again." (This quote from The Stranger article linked above, which is sort of cheating but hey, I’m breaking it down.)


4. The chance to be outspoken and uncomfortable and more honest than I’ve ever had the courage to be. I like this piece by Charles Eisenstein in which he describes the chance to tell the truth:


The wolf, Donald Trump (and I’m not sure he’d be offended by that moniker) will not provide the usual sugarcoating on the poison pills the policy elites have foisted on us for the last forty years. The prison-industrial complex, the endless wars, the surveillance state, the pipelines, the nuclear weapons expansion were easier for liberals to swallow when they came with a dose, albeit grudging, of LGBTQ rights under an African-American President.


Don’t get me wrong. I love President Obama. I know not all progressives do, but I did and still do. I can’t wait to see what he does next as the “dignity of the office” no longer constrains him. And I don’t think that the human rights that are threatened by Trump are less important than the rest of that list. But it’s true that the deep lies and injustice were still going on and were masked and all the masks are coming off now and I believe that we do we do we do have a chance to face this change with love like lockjaw, unrelenting, ceaseless and holding unto the death of all that we now must lose.


5. My son.