Welp, I’m devastated.
But I’m not here to talk about that.
I’m here to share some words of wisdom that are keeping me going. I hope they do the same for you.
Whatever and whomever you turn to right now, choose things that will nurture you and give you hope. Choose courage and perseverance and strength.
Because, while you can take as long as you need, you eventually have to re-engage with this crazy country of ours.
We need you.
1. Healing started with Kate McKinnon making me sob in a good way.
Love is not a victory march./It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah.
2. Then I turned to my favorite when things are going to shit—Ken Kesey.
There is evidence of bad shit having been survived before. Ancient Advice left in cave by Wise French Caveman: “When Bigbad Shit come, no run scream hide. Try paint picture of it on wall. Drum to it. Sing to it. Dance to it. This give you handle on it.”
3. I girded my loins with Albus Dumbledore.
It was important, Dumbledore said, to fight, and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then could evil be kept at bay, though never quite eradicated.
4. And let Leslie Knope remind me what we’re fighting for.
I acknowledge that Donald Trump is the President. I understand, intellectually, that he won the election. But I do not accept that our country has descended into the hatred-swirled slop pile that he lives in. I reject out of hand the notion that we have thrown up our hands and succumbed to racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and crypto-fascism. I do not accept that. I reject that. I fight that. Today, and tomorrow, and every day until the next election, I reject and fight that story. I work hard and I form ideas and I meet and talk to other people who feel like me, and we sit down and drink hot chocolate (I have plenty) and we plan. We plan like mofos. We figure out how to fight back, and do good in this infuriating world that constantly wants to bend toward the bad. And we will be kind to each other, and supportive of each other’s ideas, and we will do literally anything but accept this as our fate.
5. I turned to lean on Obama’s philosophy of hope harder than ever before.
Being cynical is easy. It’s having hope in the face of adversity that’s hard—but essential.
6. And learned that Seth Myers would be the man on late night who would make me feel most inspired.
I do really feel for the parents who had to explain this to their kids this morning, especially parents with daughters, because a lot of them, like me, probably thought Hillary would be our first woman president—but she won’t be.
But that does mean that someone’s daughter is out there right now who will one day have that title, and maybe you’re a woman who’s currently a senator, maybe you’re still in college. Hopefully, you’re not still a toddler, but who knows? With the way things went last night, who knows.
The fact is, we don’t know who you are, but I imagine this moment today will be a defining one for you, one that will make you work harder and strive farther—and whoever you are, I hope I live to see your inauguration. And I hope my mom does, too.
7. Lest I let myself fall too far towards the “acceptance” stage of grief, I let John Oliver kick me in the pants.
If we don’t get actively involved to at least mitigate Trump’s damage, things will not be okay. And yes, the sun will rise each day, but the continuing rotation of the earth should not be your baseline expectation of American society. […] Keep reminding yourself, “This is not normal.”
8. I imprinted Angela Davis’s call to action on my soul.
I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.
9. And I let Rachel Maddow direct my action.
Bad stuff happens. Even potential end-of-the-world stuff—sometimes it does happen. Sometimes it turns out to be your generation, your workplace, your country, where you live where it happens. And then what do you do when you’re confronted with that? Well, if history is any guide, what we do in this country is we improvise, America! We do what we can! Look around, make a quick inventory of the resources we’ve got at hand. Somebody figure out a way to MacGyver this thing! We’ve got to do what we can. We always have….
So if you are worried, or mad, or sad, or scared about what this election did last night, there is no use raging against the election for long. Honestly, as a citizen, we all now have a to-do list. I’m not trying to be inspiring, I’m not trying to be comforting. I’m not even trying to be polemic here. I mean this in a really practical way. If you’re a citizen who believes this president-elect will do what he says he will do, then you do have a to-do list to make as a citizen. What are you going to do? What are you going to do in your life to try to protect what makes us, us. What are you going to join? What are you going to volunteer for? What are you going to give your money to? What are you going to show up for and participate in that you haven’t done before that will help your country?
10. When I realized that America’s bully pulpit has turned against my very personhood, I turned to Eleanor Roosevelt.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
11. I let a friend’s pleasure reading this week teach me a lesson about how to handle my fear.
“When you are born,” the golem said softly, “your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough for anything: crawling off of staircases, saying your first words without fearing that someone will think you are foolish, putting strange things in your mouth. But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk and crusty things and dirt and fear and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you’re half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it’s so grunged up with living. So every once in a while, you have to scrub it up and get the works going or else you’ll never be brave again.”
12. And I turned, as always, to Langston Hughes’ reminder that our story is a chapter in a long and tumultuous novel.
O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me. And yet I swear this oath— America will be!
13. And then, when I was ready, I let myself be a little girl again while I listened to—and actually believed—this heartbreaking advice from the Queen herself.
To all of the little girls who are watching this: Never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.
That’s all I have. It isn’t much.
But that’s okay, because, ultimately, all you need to keep going is already inside of you.
Jacqui is a terrible dinner party guest—she only knows how to talk about politics and religion. On a typical Friday night, she can be found binge-watching her current Netflix show of choice, playing Civilization: The Board Game and drinking <$8 bottles of champagne.