Following a very rough – and for many of us, sleepless – 2016 election, deflated supporters of Hillary Clinton began the day contemplating the reality of a Donald Trump presidency. Following the shock and horror that defined the reaction last night, the mood today was something more akin to mourning.
On the other hand, many were looking for a ray of hope or at least conciliation, among them Sons of Anarchy and Bastard Executioner creator Kurt Sutter, who penned a thoughtful examination of his own post-election feelings that becomes a surprisingly hopeful look forward.
“I woke up neck deep in hopelessness this morning. Staring out the window, the marine layover felt like a death cloak,” said Sutter. “The uncomfortable numbness hanging over Los Angeles was palpable.” But, inspired by his daughter, he said, he decided to think about his own part in the national political mood. “[I]f I truly believe in the democratic process, I have to not only accept that outcome, I have to own it. Whatever divide exists in this country, I am responsible for my part in that equation.”
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“I know to dump hate and fear on top of this precarious political climate makes me part of the problem,” he added later, concluding with concluding with a promise to “try to put that energy into something productive that incites change rather than derisiveness.”
See the full letter below.
Hate and Fear =
I woke up neck deep in hopelessness this morning. Staring out the window, the marine layover felt like a death cloak. The uncomfortable numbness hanging over Los Angeles was palpable.
Then I saw my nine year old. She was happy. Hopeful. And excited by the possibility of her day. In that moment, I had a very unexpected shift. One that spun on the axis of accountability and acceptance.
I am, like all Americans, accountable for the current political landscape. Regardless of what you think of Mr. Trump, he won by a solid electorate margin. So if I truly believe in the democratic process, I have to not only accept that outcome, I have to own it. Whatever divide exists in this country, I am responsible for my part in that equation.
Have my actions inspired unity or a greater separation?
I don’t know much, but I do know from experience that apathy and resentment are soul crushing defects of character. They create the damaging cycle of blame, passivity and reactiveness.
But if I shift my perspective from sedentary doom to active hope, I can give Mr. Trump and his conservative congress the benefit of the doubt and trust that the nightmare scenario I might be spinning in my head, will, like every other expectation I’ve had about this election, play out differently. In other words, the only outcome of fear and hate is more fear and hate.
The demographic of our country continues to shift. Although not evident in Tuesday’s results, women, people of color and young people are sliding into an inevitable majority. The impact of that vote, or more importantly, the lack of it, might be the greatest lesson in this election. The power of what could have been, should inspire a call to action.
My point is this. I love being a misanthrope. My default is always anger and aggression. I feel empowered when I eviscerate the things that I don’t like. Or more accurately, the things that scare me. But I know to dump hate and fear on top of this precarious political climate makes me part of the problem.
So for my own sanity and in the spirit of hope for my kids and all citizens of the world, I promise to look for the similarities rather than the differences. And instead of complaining about beliefs and policies I don’t think are right, I will try to put that energy into something productive that incites change rather than derisiveness.
I hope you hold me accountable to that promise. And more importantly, I hope you make a similar promise.
It’s a beginning.
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