The new world


Moon rising, November 12th.  This made me think of Desiderata, “With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”  I hope that is true.

I went to bed on election night around 10:30, full of Tylenol PM and a deep foreboding about what was coming, even though it wasn’t yet official.  There’s no ambiguity that Hillary Clinton was my candidate. I woke up at 5:30 and checked my phone in the dark of our room and saw the news.  I went upstairs to see Matt, who had slept fitfully and moved to the couch around 3am.  I knelt next to him in the pre-dawn blackness of our family room, glancing up to see the tree that I have watched and loved for so many years.  I had tears streaming down my face when I woke him up.


I don’t know.  He doesn’t know.  None of us know.  I woke Whit up and then had to go to work before Grace got up, so I left her a note.  I’ve felt numb for days and have been unable to express the strength and amplitude of my reaction.  It’s about losing the chance to have a woman president, and about the choice of a clearly sexist man over an incredibly qualified candidate who happened to be female, for sure.  But it’s about more than that, too. This John Pavlovitz essay says it best, in my view: this loss is about believing in a certain kind of world and realizing that almost 50% of my country believes in a different world.  It’s dark versus light, inclusion versus exclusion, being open versus being closed, fear versus faith.

Maybe I was naive. Clearly I was naive.  I have said over and over that I don’t know if I am more heartbroken or more shocked to have been so entirely, completely out of touch.  I had a festering anxiety about her winning that many around me said was ridiculous – the polls and data supported it being a done deal, I heard!  But I couldn’t ignore my tummy rumble and my fear.  Still, the basic fact of his win and her loss did shock me and does still.  This is the world we live in?

I’ve read a lot since Tuesday, but my favorite pieces so far are three: the John Pavlovitz one, the letter Aaron Sorkin wrote to his daughter and wife after Trump’s win, and John Palfrey’s comments. I need to write something to Grace and Whit but my thoughts aren’t yet clear enough. I love what Sorkin says about his daughter’s first vote, in 2020.  Grace will vote that year, too. And when she woke up to the news on Wednesday morning, one of her first reactions was dismay that she would not be able to vote for Hillary, and a woman, in 2020.  I know the feeling.  I share it.  I also love Sorkin’s reflections on his grandfather, which reminded me of how vividly present my grandmothers have been during this election season for me.

My favorite piece on this post-election world are these comments John Palfrey, head of school at Andover, made on the morning of November 9th. I share his cautionary, anxious sense that there’s a place in the world where tolerance of intolerance has gone too far, and his assertion that that time is now.  I love his exhortation that young people should consider lives of service and politics which reminded me of Hillary Clinton’s extraordinary, gracious concession speech in which she said “please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”  Indeed.  And how.

The only way forward, though I walk it with a heavy heart, is to model open-mindedness and compassion for Grace and Whit and to keep believing in a world that believes in those values.  I believe we have to stand up to the kind of fearful anger that I worry will now rise up around America (already I’ve heard terrifying stories about behavior that horrifies me). Truthfully, I feel a little lost, a lot daunted, and extremely sad.  But there’s no choice but to move forward in this new world.

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  1. Martha
    Posted November 14, 2016 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    Oh dear, I think you may need some forgiveness. Things in this world only appear as you describe (my view is completely different) if you beLIEve it. Here is something that could help:

    Try not to read too many of those screeds–ones that support your views or conflict–as they are all just bait. And when you take the bait, the error becomes real.

    In love and light

  2. M.A. Gallerani
    Posted November 14, 2016 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    As always, thank you for your wise and honest words. I think that often people forget that this is YOUR blog, with YOUR thoughts and feelings. I especially like the idea of when to stop tolerating the intolerant.

    There is still so much good in our country, and your freedom to share your own musings is one of those things.

  3. Nadine
    Posted November 14, 2016 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Thank you for putting into words much of what is in my head. Incredulity, numbness, loss, and a reluctant sense of somehow having to move forward constructively. xox

  4. Holly
    Posted November 14, 2016 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Thank you. Reading Palfrey’s words was centering for me. One comfort at this time has been hearing from so many dedicated educators and young people, determined for change.

  5. Pamela Hunt Cloyd
    Posted November 14, 2016 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Dear Lindsey, your words are my favorite so far. You have articulated my thoughts exactly. I love what you said about it being time to stop tolerating the intolerant. Sometimes I wonder if Trump just won because he was louder and provided a scapegoat. Many scapegoats.

    Thank you for the links to the letters and essays. I am comforted that there are others with both fear and light in their hearts.

  6. Posted November 14, 2016 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    This election has been a major shock; I’m still prone to minor panic attacks. But I think we also need to strive to understand the reasons for Trump’s support. I wrote this back in August, when I was pretty sure he was going to lose, but it still applies:

  7. Kim
    Posted November 14, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Thank you Lindsey…your words are my thoughts. I am still frozen…I can’t accept that we live in a country where most of the people were willing to vote for this man. I so agree with you..we have to draw the line..we must stop tolerating intolerance.

    Please keep writing, sharing and inspiring.

  8. Posted November 14, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    “..there’s a place in the world where tolerance of intolerance has gone too far, and his assertion that that time is now.”

    Yes, my dear. Thank you for this.

    Big hug!

  9. Posted November 14, 2016 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this. I haven’t really been able to write yet. I’m only reading and worrying. I am anxious to go to the links you posted here…. Hugs, Stacey

  10. Posted November 14, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for these words. I haven’t been able to write yet, but I feel so much of what you’re feeling right now. I veer among frustration, sadness, fear, and glimmers of hope — but never resignation. I am, like you, committed to believing in, and manifesting, the good. We have to work through our grief and sadness, and then find the wherewithal to continue to make the world a better place. I’m encouraged to know that there are so many of us out there striving to do the same. Keep writing about this process, and I’ll try to do the same. xo

  11. Jane Kennedy
    Posted November 14, 2016 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Thank you , as always.

  12. CC
    Posted November 14, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks very much, Lindsey. It’s a hard time for those of us who so wanted Hillary to be our first woman president. I appreciate the Pavlovitz and Palfrey words very much. I’m in awe that Grace and Whit have parents who are awake and modeling honest efforts to understand their world and walk peacefully through it. Wish I’d had that.

  13. Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Thank you for these good words – yours and others’. I am still grieving too, and yet we must figure out how to walk forward. xoxo

  14. Posted November 15, 2016 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    I am still in shock but I am feeling as though I need to figure out how to move forward. For me a priority is figuring out how best to stay informed on an ongoing basis and how to be more involved. There is so much swirling around right now that staying away from social media and finding reliable, trustworthy news sources that are not just sound bites feels very important right now. I also feel somewhat guilty for being on the sidelines. I have always tried to be an open and accepting and kind person who raised open kind and accepting kids who vote. A week ago that felt like enough. Now, not so much. But I am not yet sure what feels right for me in terms of being more involved but being well informed feels like an important place to start. I am very inspired by people I read. I follow Rebecca Woolf and I love her passion but need to figure out my own way to be involved that feels right to me. There are a lot of knee jerk reactions flying around. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and honesty. This was a devastating loss that we all will process in our own way but I have faith in the potential for kindness in most if not all of us and I hope that if nothing else comes of this that it will force attention on trying to find ways to help those in our country who are so desperate that they turn their anger on their fellow citizens.

  15. Gale
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    My thoughts are also still a jumble. So many people I know have disengaged for the moment to give themselves some space. But I am devouring every post-mortem piece I can find, trying to understand how this happened. I’ve done serious soul searching and come up mostly empty handed. I deeply want to understand how Trump voters have come to feel so left behind. But also how they could sign up for the racist, misogynist, exclusionary consequences that come with their vote for “change.” Thank you for your thoughts here. Amidst these feelings of being at sea, it is at least a comfort to know that there are others out here bobbing around in the ocean with me. Love to you and your family.