We Will Be Light

There will be many thinkpieces written on why this election turned out the way that it did. I will not be writing one of them. What I will say is only this: This election was a referendum on how this country values the humanity of marginalized people, and the message we received is that we are not valued by a vast number of our fellow countrypeople.

That, for me, is partly why this loss is so painful. Our president-elect's bigotry and abuse was so explicit, so vastly more aggressive than his predecessors. That so many people voted affirmatively for the naked hatred around which his platform was centered is excruciating. And it is terrifying. I am afraid in a way I have not been before.

And I am angry. I am very angry.

I'm angry about a lot of things right now, but one thing I keep coming back to is how fucking hard our side worked. How hard Hillary worked. How hard her staff and volunteers worked. How hard activists who supported her worked.

Three times as many field offices. An expansive ground game. The colossal GOTV effort. The tens of thousands of words of policy. The open letters from experts in their fields. The writing, the art, the flash mobs.

And he didn't do shit.

All he had to do was repeat bullshit talking points about her and disgorge disgusting bigotry during unscripted stream of consciousness garbage monologues, and then coast to victory on a wave of hatred.

And now, we are going to have to work even harder. Exhausted and spent after a brutal fight, we are going to have to find the reserves deep in ourselves to begin a whole new fight.

I'm so goddamn angry about that I can barely breathe.

And I am profoundly sad. I'm sad in a way that has made my whole body ache.

I want to crawl into a hole and never come out. But this is not a time to retreat, nor is it a time to be alone. Not for me, anyway.

I couldn't have gotten through election night without being surrounded by people I love: Iain, Deeky and Cam, and the Space Cowpokes. Our grief was overwhelming. We needed each other desperately; I was so grateful that we were together when the worst happened.

Yesterday, steeped in this lingering sadness, I had the thought that I have these friends because we forged fast and lasting and meaningful friendships in this space—a space that was formed in opposition to George W. Bush's presidency.

I was not hoping to emerge from this election in the posture of resistance, but I also cannot ignore in this moment the impact that being stronger together in resistance has had on my life.

So many of my closest friendships have built within the boundaries of resistance. Resistance to conformity, to judgment, to oppression.

The other contributors and moderators at Shakesville have been my heart for more than a decade. We have faced trials together, as a group and as individual people facing personal challenges, and each trial has been total shit—and also an opportunity to express love and support and solidarity for each other.

I have built friendships with individual Shakers with whom I've shared parts of my life, and theirs, that mean more to me than I can say. I have cried tears of joy at GoldFishy's wedding. I have cried tears of sorrow when Jon Swift and Maud and Phil Barron died.

I love so many people whom I met in some form of resistance. I love them hard and faithfully.

Shakers, you are a part of my life that is indescribably important to me. We commune together in joy and defeat. We take up space in solidarity with one another.

I didn't want this outcome, and I want a better world for you.

Given this moment, however, my heart implores me to recognize that you have been light in darkness for me, and I will always try mightily to be light in darkness for you.

We will resist. We will be light. And we will find our way together.

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