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A Love Revolution

“A riot is the language of the unheard.”  Martin Luther King Jr.

I am a fan of historical fiction and almost always in the midst of how other people lived through the challenges of a distant time. Witnessing history through fictional personal stories makes it real for me and has often left me marveling at how my own existence has never been swept up in any of the vast sea changes that political swings have generated for so many millions of people on earth.  And yet, suddenly this mind boggling election and its most unfathomable results are making me realize that very possibly my life too, may be swept up and profoundly altered by the time we are now entering. It is unnerving and late in the dark of night, frightening enough to keep me awake. I know I am not alone and that comforts me. And reminds me of what I most treasure about the historical novels and their heroic characters- what is most memorable in those accounts is the unbelievable courage and strength that people demonstrate in the name of love during the most harrowing of times.

And like so many before us, we walk boldly into the unknown with both disbelief and recognition. First a recognition that no matter which side your vote fell on, that the hunger for real change was the one thing that was held in common. And yet, the vision of the changes needed here in our one nation are deeply divisive. For the voting majority that lost its voice in this election, we wait in despair, knowing that the changes awaiting us are not quite what we bargained for. Still, here it is and here we are; All the players finally in place to force either the healing or the explosion of the wound which has been at the heart of the polarization our national politics since its inception. The most important and profound questions of what equal rights and birthrights really mean and whether the freedom and opportunity that was long ago written into our founding documents are only for some.

These fissures are not about some long ago ideals. They are at the heart of what has divided this country and have been fought over since the civil war. But from the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s to current day Black Lives Matter protests, we still have not quite owned up to and forgiven the racism and bigotry that has brought us to this moment in time. In as much as our current leaders work to honor the tradition of a peaceable transfer of power the calls for reconciliation are everywhere. And yet, to dismiss this core question of whether we are truly one nation sets it on a tinder keg of anger waiting to explode.

Now, the gridlock will be over, and the winning side has all the power. How far they take this power and how much they dismantle the hard won battles for equality will be the stuff our next generations read about as we make history. We, the people will be the only checks and balances left in this nation and it will be for us our moment in history to stand up and be heard about who we are as a nation. Already thousands have taken to the streets in protest over a presidency that comes straight out of reality television- How big will the protests have to be to protect the agencies we have come to take for granted? Will environmental protection become a relic? Women’s health a thing of the past? Sexual freedoms gone? Witnessing the dismantling of much of the hard won programs that make a real difference in people’s lives will be heart breaking. But what we do with our broken heart will be the stories that are told about us in fictional novels yet unwritten. There is no turning back, now in order to truly reconcile, the issues that divide us will increasingly demand our full attention and participation. Think of it as a love revolution.