THE DIVIDED ROAD AHEAD

The ambassador of darkness is now the president-elect. Despite how stunned many of us are, despite our grief and fear of the future, that is an undeniable fact. A man who has the enthusiastic support of the KKK and other white nationalist groups, a man who has slandered Hispanics and Muslims, degraded women, mimicked a disabled person, shown an appalling ignorance of the Constitution, and called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, will be our next president. And the fact that he has been on good behavior the past few days is, in my mind, irrelevant. To be fair, he didn’t create the hatred and racism in this country, but he did unleash those demons. And they are not genies you can put back in the bottle by suddenly acting like a good little schoolboy and by giving lip-service to unity. America is in trouble. America is deeply divided, and those with hatred in their hearts now feel emboldened.

So what are we to do with this? In 1973 Jackson Browne sang, in his song Everyman: “Everybody I talk to is ready to leave with the light of the morning. They’ve seen the end coming down long enough to believe they’ve heard their last warning.” I remember that feeling — that there was somewhere else go, to escape to, someplace far from the troubles at home. That isn’t the case anymore. This planet is in trouble. This fragile blue ball we call Earth could already be at the tipping point. We don’t have four years to wait it out until Donald Trump and his soldiers of darkness go away. And where in the world could you go to escape violence and hatred these days? We’ve been called upon to stand up to the darkness that’s been unleashed, and that won’t be easy.

Already, just days after Trump was elected, incidents of racial and ethnic hatred are piling up. Muslim women are being spit at, Latinos are being told to go back to their own country, signs saying Make America White Again have cropped up, two boys waving a Trump flag from a pickup truck drove around Wellesley College harassing students and spitting at black girls. We have been living in an unrealistic bubble for years — we knew hatred was out there but we didn’t know how bad or how prolific it was. Not until Donald Trump came along, lifted up that rock and let it all spew out. Now we know. Now the demons are dancing among us and they will not be silenced. Our choice, it seems to me, is a stark one and one that requires us to dig deep and hold on to the strongest ropes of faith that we can find. Faith that light can dissolve darkness. Faith that love is more fierce and more powerful than hatred. Faith that we are not meant to give up on the beauty and the grandeur of this earth and all the creatures who inhabit it — the magnificent animals who are being slaughtered by people like the Trump boys who gleefully pose for photos with animals they have brutally shot. Faith that God put us here to be miracle-workers, not bottom-dwellers.

Martin Luther King said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” I for one am having a terrible time trying to dig past my sorrow at where this country has come to. I’m struggling to see past my fears. I’m struggling to take the first step. But if we don’t collectively commit to the idea that hatred and small-mindedness will not win, will not define our country, then we will go the way of many civilizations before us that ended up as footnotes in history books. It’s hard to believe there is light when darkness seems to bubble up around us. Harder still when the man who will occupy the White House has made that his rallying cry. But towering figures in history — Ghandi, Martin Luther King, to name two — didn’t give up even when things were terrifyingly bleak.

Another quote from Martin Luther King: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” We are at a moment in history that requires all of us to choose which road we want to go down. The roads are clearly marked. My prayer is that the majority of us will choose the road with a light blinking in the distance, a light that beckons us to remember why we were put here on this earth.

 

12 Responses to THE DIVIDED ROAD AHEAD

  1. Chet Rhodes says:

    That was an awesome read, Patti. I have been in the throes of despair and fear since the election. After reading your article, I feel much better.

    Thank you very much, and I choose the path of light.

    Chet Rhodes
    Roanoke, Virginia

  2. Kathlean Gahegan says:

    The Village Idiot will blah blah blah himself into an impeachment in record time. It’s time to revisit and dismantle the Electoral College and run our system as a true Democracy based on a majority vote, and not the Constutional Republic it really is. Trump and his uneducated redneck base have no room under their unself-realized narcissist bubble. They are oblivious to the fact that ours is a melting pot culture that gave “us their hungry and their poor”. We were initially colonized by folk escaping oppressive taxation and religious intolerance. Waves of immigration brought ethnic groups to US shores seeking success on the New World.

    • Walter Palmer says:

      The states will never vote out the Electoral College because you would only have to campaign on West coast east coast and Chicago,and the rest of the country would have no voice.

  3. Patti, I also choose the path of Light and Hope. It will be a path wrought with risks and dangers, however I’m willing to take those risks and facedown the danger while staying positive, upbeat and optimistic.

    I will continue to help my neighbors along with strangers, If they are hungry I will make sure they eat. If they need shelter I will do everything I can to put a roof over their head, if they need encouragement, I can provide it, and though my actions I hope they will see the light.

  4. Frank Drake Jr says:

    Patti,

    Thank you for this excellent read.The past few days have been a struggle. I was in such pain and anxiety after the election results came in late Tuesday night. Being part of the LGBTQ community along with two of my daughters, I am afraid for their future. Honestly, I cried myself to sleep that night. I have been trying to find articles and stories that provide some light and positivity for our future. Thank you so much for this as it is so true and we have to move forward together. There is hope and light. We will prevail.

  5. David Marks says:

    There are times, answers to complex questions, appear to be strikingly simple; they never are. We sit at our chemistry tables as children, or our Barbie dolls and ponder just how to resolve the answers as to how they became so beautiful, or why one small piece of metal will pull one end to to the other, while pushing the other alarmingly against its own movements. The terrible trial which, on the one hand, bring life its intricate pains, also instill that creative purpose to and hope, and it is that hope, no matter how elusive, for as many years as it takes, the riddle is solved; the nightmare is over. Patti, I love this piece; it’s tender, simple, honest and applicable to all of us. Let no one assume they can skirt the tease of the rhythm…they cannot. We all must battle onward to find the answers, and if we fail, it must be remembered, we fail as a people, as one.

  6. Thank you Patti for that glowing light in a time of
    darkness. Thank you for offering a chance to
    see past the division and evil that this man has
    unleashed. We can win this fight by staying open
    and passionate about our beliefs and holding
    onto our better angels, which the forces of
    darkness can never touch.

  7. You wrote what many of us are feeling. I’m despondent for my children, for all young people. Petrified for my one year old granddaughter. Thanks for your words.

  8. Walter Palmer says:

    That was a great piece Patti. However I think people in the Midwest (Reagan Democrats) found nothing in Hillary that was genuine. So they voted for Trump who preached the populist vision. Also I think Obama did not realize the affect Obama care would have on small business in that part of the country. Hopefully we’ll survive this chaos and goodness will prevail.

  9. Mick Bysshe says:

    For better or worse, Donald Trump will be our next president. I pray he fulfills his duties with wisdom. fortitude and humility. It is all I ask.

  10. Ciaran John Ryan says:

    We should remember the words of wisdom that your father said to Richard Nixon, in despair over Watergate: “This too shall pass”. Indeed, it did. Or his words of faith for the future of America in his farewell letter, “I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.”

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