Maintaining a glass-is-half-full mentality is tough these days. An unstable, narcissistic bully with the worldview of a second grader is running the show and I’m writing a blog called Chronicle of Joy. Give me a frickin’ break. I’m even annoying myself.
But, here’s the thing: I believe that there’s good in everything. Even this. You just have look hard and hold fast.
So, here goes…
1. Thanks to Mr. Trump, people are ripping themselves away from The Bachelor and Dancing With The Stars to get involved. A local meeting of Santa Cruz Indivisible had to be moved six times to accommodate the number of people who wanted to participate.
2. All those people who didn’t vote because they were convinced Hillary was going to win have wised up. Turn-out for the 2018 mid-terms is going to break all records.
3. Feminism has emerged from the closet and is kicking ass. Judit and I catapulted ourselves off the couch and cheered as we watched Ashley Judd at the Women’s March in DC unapologetically asking why tampons were taxable and Viagra wasn’t. Woop, woop, woop. Tell it, sister. We bleed. Get used to it.
4. There’s no more pretending. Lipstick is off the pig and the pig is one ugly dude. The grip of racism and xenophobia is deeper and broader than I dared to think. Hell, it’s living next door. The spitting crowds chanting ’build that wall’ have made that abundantly clear. So, why is this good news? Because you can’t heal what you don’t acknowledge. Mr. Trump has ripped off the bandage and exposed the wound. Maybe now, the fresh air can bring on some healing.
5. My political priorities are (finally) clearer. Years ago, I heard Andrew Harvey give a talk about Spiritual Activism. “Find what hurts your heart the most,” he said. “And do that.” For fifteen years, that idea haunted me. I didn’t know what hurt the most. Now, thanks to Jennifer Hofman’s wonderful google doc “weekly actions for positive change”, my top three priorities are clear:
• Women having control over their own bodies.
• Good people not being deported because they are brown.
• Keeping rivers, oceans, forests and prairies out of the hands of the greeds.
Thank you, Donald, I’m clear now.
6. Now I get it. Gaddafi, Ceausescu, Pinochet, Kim Jong-un, Assad, and Putin make more sense. While Mr. Trump doesn’t yet belong on a list of dictators and despots, his rise and style gives off a similar stench. Millions of people around the world live under unrepresentative governments run by unstable leaders. I now have a sense, in my bones, of what that feels like. Understanding builds bridges.
7. Organizations with disparate agendas are working together. The NAACP, Greenpeace, NARAL, Jewish Voice for Peace, Common Cause, the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Labor unions in the same room with The Sierra Club. Atheists cheering the Pope. Common ground is being found—and populated.
8. The depths of our division is scaring people into the unthinkable—talking to one another. Van Jones and Newt Gingrich have joined forces. At a recent Indivisible meeting in Santa Cruz, creating dialogues with Trump supporters was a popular call to action. Maybe we’ll learn how to be civil and listen.
9. While I’m in bed by 9:00 and wake up with a backache, the young ones are energized, equipped and eager to fight.
10. My brother and I talk on the phone more often. He’s a voracious consumer of news and manages to remember everything he reads and sees. Who needs the media? I have him. Plus, he makes me laugh and that’s always a good thing.
11. Less media means more reading. Remember the juicy novel? I’d forgotten.
13. Once on the verge of extinction, newspapers are thriving again. The New York Times earned 41,000 new subscribers in the weeks after the election. The Wall Street Journal saw a 300% spike. The Washington Post, Boston Globe, Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times all up. People now understand the value of a free press and are willing to pay for it.
14. Donations are skyrocketing. The ACLU raised $24 million dollars in three days and has 150,000 new card-carrying members. Planned Parenthood received 300,000 new donations, about ‘forty times its normal’. And these are the folks who know their way around halls of power.
15. I get to be brave. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no hero. Most of me wants to move to New Zealand and take up weaving. I want to buy a cabin so deep in Vermont’s Green Mountains the cable guy wouldn’t dare to tread. I want to sit on the couch for four years, eat Cheez-Its and watch reruns of The West Wing. Yet, I know that checking out isn’t an option. Circumstances are calling us up. Writing this blog may not seem to be a great act of bravery. I’m not exactly chaining myself to a fence or risking prison by blocking the door against ICE officers. But for me, it is a small act of courage. And I know, as time marches forward, there will be ample opportunities to show my strength and do more.
Any other reasons why we should be grateful from Mr. Trump? Share them below.