So, now what

Today, the forces of hate have won.  Bigotry, cruelty, and lies have won.  Red States have knelt before their dear leader, and the future of our country and the world are on the brink of chaos.

This is not the End

The moment I realized my country chose bigotry and hate.

No matter what happens now, the world will continue to spin with or without us.  We have to remember that.  The world doesn't stop moving just because the Red States voted for time to go backwards to a time when LGBT people had no personhood, Black People couldn't vote, Freedom of Religion didn't exist, and Immigrants were persecuted and suspected because of the nation of their birth, life will go on.  Those who felt left behind before will only fall further behind.

The instinct of so many in our country not to take responsibility for their own lives is breathtaking.  If you feel abandoned by the world, it is because you gave up on life.  Stop feeling like a victim and take responsibility for your own life. Remember the lesson your parents should have taught you, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

Silence = Nonexistence

We are no longer at a crossroads.  No matter how we voted, we have chosen a path and we all have to walk it together.  Whatever comes, don't lose your voice. Don't lose the best of yourself, even when others around you have.

What we learned from the election this year is that white people are afraid of change. They benefited from the status quo of the 1950's, and dream of returning to a time lost forever.

This is not the time to feel fear, on either side. Now is the moment to show the world the power of compassion to erode the forces of hate and division.  

Don't be one of those people who lies to themselves and says, "Donald Trump is not my president."  He is.

Donald Trump is Our President

That means we have to hold his feet to the fire.  We have to organize and speak up. In many ways, nothing has changed. Regardless of who won the Presidency, we were going to have to work hard on our local, state, and federal representatives and senators to ensure a better world.  We may have to work harder, but we would have had to do this work either way.

Don't think for a minute that I am in denial or that I think any of this will be easy. It was never going to be easy, but now we know where the real problem is.  

Combatting Fear

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
— Frank Herbert, Dune

The election taught us that the biggest problem our country has is fear.  We have to stand up and against the fear, but we have to see a way to diffuse the fear in others.

The only way to fight fear is with compassion, and that is something the Red States have too little of. Not only in their hearts, but in their lives.  We have not treated them right.  That does not mean we accede to their demands, but we have to see their pain and alleviate it.

Don't you know it's gonna be alright

A friend of my shared a story today about a Transgender Kid who left a suicide note on Tumblr asking for the world to change (read it here).

Stories like this trash my spirit. I only hope that we are moving forward in some ways...

What we need more than anything is a cultural revolution that reconnects us to compassion and hope and breaks the chains cynicism, nihilism, and isolationism have wrapped around our necks. Only when we learn to stand up will things change.

One moment, I need a musical break, sing a long if you know it, if not, it has the words.

For years, decades, centuries, people have tried to change the world, and as Joseph Campbell said:

When we talk about settling the world’s problems, we’re barking up the wrong tree. The world is perfect. It’s a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it. Our job is to straighten out our own lives.

Every time I quote that, my friends sigh, and tell me that I just don't get it.  We talk for a couple hours until we finally get back around the point.  We cannot change other people, we can only change ourselves.

This is one of the most troubling aspects of modern social movements, our solution is always to pass a law, change a law, or enforce a law.  If history has taught us anything, we have to see that law is only a minor part of the change we need.

Yes, anti-discrimination laws are important, and so are hate crime laws.  They won't accomplish anything if we don't take wise action to change ourselves in such a way that it encourages others to take on the same change.

All of this starts with compassion.  Compassion is simply living by the gold and silver rules:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
— The Golden Rule
Do not do unto other as you would not have them do unto you.
— The Silver Rule

When we act according to these simple rules of compassion that every culture on earth has come to over time, we start building the world that we want to see.  We only have control over our actions.  We have to take responsibility for our own actions.

How can we expect others to treat us with respect if we will not grant them the same courtesy?  How can we expect society to celebrate difference if we demand conformity?  The path forward it to demonstrate through our lives, our jobs, our entertainment, and our businesses that diversity and compassion make us stronger.  If we do not demonstrate the basic interconnectedness of all people, places, and things, we have no hope that others will see it.

In every encounter, be kind, be compassionate, and celebrate the differences between people.  Only through living a life that makes others envious of our joy, hope, and prosperity will others start looking for ways they can have the same thing.

Become a beacon for compassion.  Live compassion in all your words, thoughts, and deeds, and you will be the change that we need.  When others ask you why your life is so different, tell them, but make they want to ask.

One by one, we will realize that we are all interconnected, and that our actions effect everyone and everything.  Eventually, this will change the world.