On PantsuitNation, Facebook, and Surviving This Election

Closed safety pins on a blue jeans denim fabric

On Pantsuit Nation, Facebook, and Surviving This Election

Like many, I am shell shocked and grieving for this decision our country has made. Those five stages of grief, I haven’t worked through to acceptance yet, not in my heart, though my brain tells me what has happened.

My world has been held together by my friends, my lovely daughter, and by a Facebook group of women and men called together for a cause – thank you Pantsuit Nation. You’ve been a lifesaver. As the voting period began, I was struck by the number of women, of all ages, who reported tears as they voted for Hillary, so symbolic was it for them. And then, the outpouring of disbelief and heartache on Wednesday.

I surprised myself that I cried for two days, thinking that I was old enough, and jaded enough, to understand that life works in mysterious ways, that good does not always triumph. But, really, I never thought that this could happen.

But happen it did, and even with the bitterness of Hillary garnering the popular vote, the Electoral College is what we have. And so it goes. We cannot say that the president-elect did not tell us who he is. And those who hide their racism behind whatever excuse they use, as Frankie said to Grace, “I call your bullshit.”

And now to channel this throbbing energy into something positive, toward a direction that can neutralize the racism and misogyny that believes it has full throttle by the election results, I am doing something, however small. I’ve set aside contribution dollars for those groups that will need support now more than ever, and I’m wearing a safety pin. Not much, I know, but it is something. And something is all each of us can do.

We will get over this. But we will never be the same.

Another Sunday  www.cynthiastrauff.com

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On Surviving the Election

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On Surviving Until the Election

I spent the last week in a migraine miasma, brought on by watching the second debate. I’ve still not completely recovered, but a quilt show and an egg salad sandwich on toast helped. I found myself glued to Facebook and to political talk shows where pundits, sure that God and right was on their side, excoriated any and all who disagreed with them.

Now, all politics is projection, right? At least that’s what Jung said, and I’m inclined to believe him. I’ve learned a lot about cognitive dissonance and about projection since that debate. I am working assiduously to respect those whose political choices are different from mine. Let me tell you that, for this election, this is one tough task. Vitriol from both sides, which, not surprisingly, I label as righteous indignation if it coincides with my views. And fear, lots of fear – on my part, on everyone’s part, I think. If our favored candidate does not win, what will our country be like? Who will we be?

I know where my vote will go. It is unlikely that anyone or anything could change my mind between now and the time that I cast my ballot. And I’m thinking that’s true for just about all of us.

So, to survive, here are some suggestions:

Quiet – I’m starting with external quiet – minimal TV (except for the World Series), and no political talk shows. I’m counting on that leading to an internal quiet;

Pumpkin tea – in a china cup, sipped in the quiet of my sunporch;

A Facebook diet – I wish I had the discipline to say that I’m off Facebook, but I know that would be too much to ask of myself – but a morning and evening check-in, I think I can do that. And no responses, no matter how outrageous the comments; and,

Meditation – I must admit that my fingers first wrote medication, but I really do mean meditation. For we will get through this, one way or another. Though I don’t think we’ll ever be the same.

Another Sunday,  www.cynthiastrauff.com

On Mobs: A Cautionary Tale

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On Mobs: A Cautionary Tale

Would that the mob that prompted this post was one that held placards bearing hearts. Would be that the mob that prompted this post was once that chanted “enough.” Would be that the mob that prompted this post was not a group calling themselves patriotic Americans who want to “take America back.”

I work to keep this post non-political, although the composition of the crowd (I will forswear the term “mob” here) was blatantly political, and proud of it, it appeared. But my thoughts are about what happens to ordinary individuals once they become part of, once they identify with a larger group. So, this is what I observed: middle-aged to elderly white men, mostly in short-sleeved white shirts and ties that bore some iteration of the American flag, middle-aged to elderly white women in spectacularly unbecoming straw hats banded in red, white and blue, the kind of people that you’d see in an advertisement for a 4th of July picnic in Iowa (sorry Iowans, I know it’s a stereotype) gazing upward with rapt adulation at Chris Christie (and Chris, I used to admire your chutzpah, no longer, however) exhorting them with the chant “lock her up, lock her up.” I sat spellbound – like when you see a train wreck about to happen and you can’t avert your eyes. The energy of the crowd was palpable, even through the TV screen. So much hatred, and so much glee in being able to scream a slogan in the midst of thousands who agree with, and reinforce, exactly how you feel. I could not look away, even as a wave of nausea, which has yet to leave entirely, coursed through my body.

So in my mini-research on mobs, it seems that belief, and identification with, a leader can easily transform a person’s behavior to model that of the leader, while their own, perhaps dissimilar values, become submerged. Group think, group action.

Would that a leader have emerged who would have called up higher instincts, an antidote to hatred and fear. The group I saw this week was angry. Most of the people I’ve talked with, who don’t share those views, are scared.