I wore my pantsuit to vote. While I waited in line, I didn’t see a lot of other pantsuits, but I did see a lot of diversity – people who had been born in Mexico and Ecuador and Honduras and Vietnam and India waiting to exercise their right, their privilege, and their duty as Americans, and at 6:30 in the morning, no less. The fifth grade room mothers at the school where I voted were selling coffee and donuts. Everyone seemed to be in a pretty good mood. It took me 20 minutes or so to exercise my duty, and when I returned home, feeling upbeat, I put some bubbly in the fridge to celebrate the election of our great nation’s first female president.
By now, we all know where this story is going.
Yep, it’s true. The United States has elected a neon orange blowhard, a bigoted bully, a self-admitted sex offender, a dude who wants to bang his own daughter, who doesn’t pay taxes and doesn’t care who knows it, who considers “just don’t pay the contractors” a smart and sustainable business strategy, who has allied himself with the likes of Vladimir Putin and the Ku FUCKING Klux Klan, and whose grasp of policy issues facing the nation ranges from the fanciful to the… we’ll be charitable and say tenuous.
But hey, at least he’s not a crook like Crooked Hillary, amirite?
Look, maybe you voted for Donald Trump, and although I don’t understand, I respect your choice. I respect that you had your reasons. They may not be my reasons, and in fact they probably aren’t, but until I’m Queen of the World (or I magically turn into Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, which I guess you could say is my backup plan), your reasons carry equal weight with mine.
But I don’t have to like it, and I don’t have to be silent about my… would complete and utter fucking disbelief be too strong a term?
Unsurprisingly, I can draw some comfort from the arts. First of all, if genre teaches us one thing, it’s that the ship always rights itself, eventually. Katniss brings down the Capitol, avenges her sister, and assassinates the dangerous Alma Coin. The Rebels blow up the Death Star. John May rises up, defeats the Visitors, and pantses Tyler Evans on national television, just on general principles. – Well, maybe that last one only happened in my head, but you get the point.
And second, if you watched Angel, which featured David Boreanaz (before he got too comfortable) as a crime-solving vampire, you probably remember an episode called “Epiphany.” It was toward the end of the first season (maybe the second – Angel was in the 90s, y’all), and Angel the Vampire had a bad case of the blahs. He was running around being a dick to his friends and colleagues and brooding, as Boreanaz did so very prettily, but then he thinked a Deep Thought:
“If nothing we do matters… , then all that matters is what we do. ‘Cause that’s all there is. What we do. Now. Today. Because, if there’s no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world.”
I love that quote, and I’m going to hold on tight to it in the coming days and weeks. And I’m going to do this: I’m going to promise that Donald Trump doesn’t represent the best of us. I’m going to say that if you’re a person of color, LGBTQI, a refugee, economically challenged – we stand behind you. Geek Speak stands behind you. I, for what little good it might do, stand behind you.
I’m going to work for a better world. I don’t know how yet (I’m open to suggestion). I’m going to model tolerance and respect to my children. I’m going to smile at someone who looks like they could use a smile today. I’m going to call my mother.
Maybe nothing I do will matter. We live in interesting times, after all. But at the same time, it might just be the greatest thing in the world.