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Hourglass

Next Monday, the Electoral College will meet to cast their votes, though the votes won’t be counted until Congress meets on January 6th.  That is also the last day for anyone in the House or Senate to object to the results of the Electoral College vote.

It feels like some of us are in the bottom portion of an hourglass, feeling the grains falling on our heads and wondering if someone will come along to flip the glass in time, or will we be buried and suffocated under an avalanche of sand.

As I said weeks ago, this election is not like any other election in recent history.  Americans elected a group of individuals (since when you’re voting for a President, you are also voting for all the people who come with said President from his Vice President to his advisors to his cabinet) that are not for ideas but against groups of people.  This isn’t the usual case where there are multiple paths forward and all have their pros and cons.  There are few people who will experience pros with this administration.  There are many more people who will experience cons.

When we can actively point out the groups that will be discriminated against under the proposed policies, the fors don’t matter when, in order to put them into action, they go hand-in-hand with againsts.

I wish everyone understood what it feels like to be in the lower bulb of the hourglass and be on receiving end of discrimination.  I don’t want other people to have to actually experience it — it’s awful to feel fear — but I can see from the way people voted that they don’t understand what life is like down here.  If they did, they would never make a decision that could possibly lead to people being in the lower bulb.

I am grateful to the people who have not experienced the fear that goes hand-in-hand with discrimination but were able to imagine how horrible it would be to have people shout a racial slur at you or how it feels to walk up to your shul and see it covered in swastikas and hate slogans and voted accordingly; especially to people who wanted a third-party candidate and chose to vote for Hillary Clinton not because they were for Hillary but because they were against hate and were going to do everything within their power to stop this situation from happening.

Hate isn’t just words.  Hate isn’t just images.  They are proof of an ideology; its manifestation in visible or auditory form.  And history has shown us time and time again the results of that hate-filled ideology.

So we wait for next Monday and then we wait all the way until January 6th to find out if anyone is going to flip this hourglass or if some of us are going to drown.

12 comments

1 a { 12.13.16 at 7:34 am }

I am so upset? horrified? by the inaction on the part of the politicians watching this slow-motion trainwreck and saying “we can’t do anything about it because that’s how the system was set up 240 years ago and to change it now would be a stain on our Democracy.” Want to see a greater stain on our Democracy? Let this anti-science, anti-minority, anti-religious freedom for anyone who isn’t Christian, anti-environment administration into office.

Some friends have said that they’re glad this is happening – give these people what they want and let them see how it works out for them. But I have come to realize that this attitude assumes a level of self-awareness that I think has been proven not to exist. So all I can do is hold on and brace for the inevitable. But as a white, nominally Christian woman, I can use the dregs of my remaining privilege to support those who don’t even have that much. 🙁

2 Middle Girl { 12.13.16 at 9:44 am }

Gasping for breath.

3 Working mom of 2 { 12.13.16 at 10:05 am }

Glimmer of hope that somehow the Russ.ia revelations will turn things? Sad, I’m now like, oh if only the electoral college rebelled and congress appoints Rubio Cruz anyone.

4 Justine { 12.13.16 at 10:14 am }

I am white. I don’t look like a religious minority. But I’m female. I will continue to do what I can. I’ve called and written politicians, hoping that the people who represent me and all of us will hear me. I’ve signed petitions that I fear are meaningless, though I worry that my address is now being collected by the CIA and NSA (because really, who the hell knows any more?). I’ve intervened as a bystander. I hope that we can stop this from happening, but in the case that on January 6 there is no turning back, I will put my body out there on January 21, and on every day after that.

5 Beth { 12.13.16 at 12:23 pm }

This is such an apt description. As I watch more and more unfold, I feel a physical pressure on my chest. I feel like we can’t take much more. And I am so frustrated. I have never before been faced so directly with a situation in which I feel like nothing I do is working – well, not since I was trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant. I have called my Congressional representative so many times I’ve lost count and he’s done NOTHING but send me a crap form letter saying the people have spoken and we have to unite behind President Elect Trump. Nope.

6 Cristy { 12.13.16 at 12:46 pm }

“I wish everyone understood what it feels like to be in the lower bulb of the hourglass and be on the receiving end of discrimination.” This is something I’ve been reflecting a lot on. Specifically with those who benefit for bullying/dictatorships/fascism. I think they are aware that it’s happening, but chose to lie to themselves about it happening, justify why it’s happening or, as a stated, are not that self-aware to be able to empathize. Sadly, this usually means that a lot of very good people get hurt defending those who are the target. But I really don’t believe that people truly learn until they’ve directly witnessed the harm of their actions AND have been held accountable.

In the meantime, I’m with Justine and a as far as using what little privilege I have to defend others against what’s coming. We’ve already seen the power of exposing injustice through what is happening at Standing Rock (the battle is not over, though) and it should be an example of the power of media attention combined with peaceful protest.

7 Lori Lavender Luz { 12.13.16 at 3:04 pm }

I am here and I am reading.

8 Kathy { 12.13.16 at 3:18 pm }

Ever since Election Night our country and our world has felt like a parallel universe to me, though the campaign leading up to it was pretty bizarre too. I keep thinking I will wake up and find this is all a bad dream. Oh, how I would love for that hour glass to be flipped in time. However, unless something big changes between now and Monday or January 6th, I think it likely won’t. Ugh. #StillWithHer

9 Cassie Dash { 12.13.16 at 5:16 pm }

This depresses me. It’s one of those situations where you feel so close, yet so far away. It seems like it could happen so easily, if everyone just decided to take a stand and vote a different way…and yet I have so little hope that it will actually happen. I feel sad. Change is always scary, but ten thousand times more so when you don’t trust the person leading the change. I so wish that this could have gone another way. Duh.

10 Jjiraffe { 12.13.16 at 8:10 pm }

“I am grateful to the people who have not experienced the fear that goes hand-in-hand with discrimination but were able to imagine how horrible it would be to have people shout a racial slur at you or how it feels to walk up to your shul and see it covered in swastikas and hate slogans and voted accordingly; especially to people who wanted a third-party candidate and chose to vote for Hillary Clinton not because they were for Hillary but because they were against hate and were going to do everything within their power to stop this situation from happening.” 100%. Sadly, there weren’t enough of these people in the key states.

11 Chickenpig { 12.13.16 at 9:33 pm }

I’m not in the bottom of the hourglass, but I have two children who are. Two children who are bullied because they are different, whose lives are at risk because they are disabled, who are against Trump because they saw him openly mocking a disabled person. I am holding my breath because I don’t know if we will lose much needed services, or if all of the fragile safety nets we have strung in place for them to be educated with their peers, to become working citizens, will be thrown away. I hate what Trump is being allowed to do to this beautiful country. He is the reason the electoral college exists in the first place.

12 Jess { 12.15.16 at 5:15 pm }

Yes. Powerful, the hourglass image. I don’t understand how there are so many things that should make it possible to say NO to this man who is clearly at best looking to dismantle the government and at worst looking to spread hate and fear and make discrimination and dissolving of rights the story of our country, and yet everything keeps marching towards an inauguration that is disastrous for so many reasons, for so many people. I so agree with you that there are so many people who will be harmed by this man as president, and so very, very few who will benefit, even though so many apparently saw him worthy of the office (something else I will never understand). It’s unbelievable. Someone at school who voted for Trump said, “Oh, don’t worry so much. YOU don’t have to worry about anything now,” and I yelled at him that THAT IS EXACTLY THE KIND OF THING THAT FILLS ME WITH HORROR. That some people think it’s okay for “other” groups to be subjugated and hated. I am thinking of you, and hoping for the best possible outcome in January.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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