I went to bed knowing the likely outcome of the election, already feeling tense and stressed out. I slept. I even slept deeply. I woke early. I checked the news briefly, long enough to know that we’ve made our choice. Huh. America’s first openly out “rapist-in-chief”. It’s vile, although he’s certainly not the first narcissistic racist misogynist homophobic wealthy white man of privilege to hold the office (not even the only one in my lifetime). I sigh. I close the news.

I wonder if I can go four years without checking the news again… Four years seems an eternity, although I know better than that; four years is a fraction of the years I’ve been alive, and a smaller fraction still of human kind’s history on earth. It’s just four years. It seems horrifying to give this particular human being so much “power” over so many vulnerable people… and I think about “checks and balances” and high school lectures about American government, and also the challenges our first African-American president had getting fuck all done because some insecure bigots couldn’t bear the idea of a brown president, and were so easily able to stop him in his tracks with obstructionist bullshit. Four years will pass. If we don’t destroy the world in a misuse of nuclear armament, someone new will move into the office in just four years.

I’ve been around for 14 presidential elections. Social media stoked emotion to magnitudes of intensity I associate with mental illness for this one, and we all more or less survived with our sanity intact. Mostly. It’s the first election I recall where there were fatalities at polling places. I take a deep breath. I feel myself relax. I think about past presidents, in my own lifetime. They haven’t all been what I would consider “good people”, but clearly they had the followers to become president. Being a good human being has not seemed to be an American criteria for holding office. Ever. Our “democracy” is available for purchase, which is… grotesque. It’s also not actually democratic. I find myself wondering who really owns the new guy – someone does. Someone always does. If not going into it, then on the way out the door. It’s a profitable gig, and not because of the paycheck that goes with it. We’ve known it for a while. We tolerate it, although I don’t know why we do.

Bernie’s right; we’ve got to keep pushing. There is work to be done. We’ve got to keep insisting on clean air, clean water, better consumer protections, rational healthcare and prescription drug prices, laws that are fairly applied, and real equality for all our citizens, real democracy, justice for victims of violence, for victims of bias and hate, and continued forward momentum as human beings – and there are verbs involved. If we want to change the world, we have to choose change. The loudest voices, the angriest voices, don’t have to be the voices that make the rules, even within our own hearts… but yeah, there are verbs involved. We’ll have to begin again.

Begin again. Each practice. Each moment. Right here. Right now.

Begin again. Each practice. Each moment. Right here. Right now.

Today is a good day to begin again. Today I will do my best to set aside my own fear – terror, really – of what comes of this choice America has made. I’ll take a deep breath and begin again each time my fear and anxiety rise up. Most things, day-to-day, in most moments of my experience are not directly affected by who is president. I take a deep breath. I relax. I begin again.