Since the recent Presidential election, I’ve, very honestly, been at a loss for words. Tomorrow will be a week since …oh wow, it’s still even hard for me to say the words, but I’ll press through for this piece. **Clearing my throat** It’s been almost a week since President Elect Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States. Okay, I said it – Lord have mercy! There hasn’t been one time this week that I’ve thought about this election and “Lord have mercy” wasn’t followed behind that thought. Like so many of you, the day after the election, I walked around in a fog – zombie like. It was surreal and I was hoping that I was going to wake up from a really bad dream. But no…it wasn’t a dream. It was the reality and result of a democratic electoral vote system that seriously needs an overhaul! Why do we NOT use the popular vote to elect the people we want? I’m still confused by this.
The days have moved on and here we are almost a week in. Truth be told, I’ve watched very little television in the past week. I just was not able to sit and listen to the media talk about the president-elect and what’s next. Instead, I chose to pop in a few movies, attempt to finish writing another chapter of my book, I hit the gym more frequently and rigorously than ever, reconnected with my meditation zone and have really tried to find a higher frequency to tune into – seeking silence, stillness and peace. It was the only thing I knew to do in light of all that is going on around me. I sought places of comfort, safety and that which brought feelings of normalcy to me.
In the midst of my confusion, anxiety and disbelief, I have managed to find some humor and laughter in this mess. I’ve seen and shared a meme (included here) that brought me to tears in laughter when I saw it. Yep, Ms. Liberty with the cigarette summed up my feelings perfectly! I’ve been a non-smoker for more than two years now – I used to love a glass of wine and a nice wine flavored Black and Mild short. But I gave those up (NOT THE WINE, Just the smokes – a girl’s gotta have something!) But truth be told, I felt like going to the corner gas station, buying me a couple of shorts and joining Lady Liberty on the steps. But I didn’t resort back to smoking, but I damn sure thought about it! There are just some times in a woman’s life when she needs a cigarette! Another laugh I got was when someone reminded me that 8 years ago, when President Obama was elected, this is exactly how all the non-Obama supporters felt – ready to leave the country! I wonder how many really did? I also got a laugh during a conversation about every Billy Bob and back wood Bubba and Bertha who hadn’t voted in a decade came out to vote for Trump this year!” Yep, and we did the same thing when our President ran 8 years ago – we went and took Ree Ree, Tay Tay, mama and nem to register and to the polls that day. We went to pick up our intoxicated uncles and our aunties with no cars and proudly drove them to the voting locations. We turned out for President Obama. We were excited and thrilled and the possibility that a black man could be President? Well, we were simply beside ourselves and over joyed! If you didn’t vote at all – for whatever reason you convinced yourself – then you “voted” for Donald Trump. If you wasted your vote on an independent candidate who never had a chance in the first place, then you also voted for Trump. Period.
I turned on the evening news for the first time earlier this evening. I figured some of the rhetoric may have died down by now and I could possibly stomach it a bit more. I have chosen never to watch the 11:00 P.M. news before bedtime – way too scary and depressing to fall asleep listening to. However, I do TRY to stay tuned at least with the early evening news – local and worldwide – so that I know what’s going on around me; Although, I’m not sure anymore that that’s even such a good idea. Can I really live in oblivion? Anyway, I sat down at my writing space with the television on and began to eat dinner there. The local news was giving a report of what’s happening in my community:
“Today, a shootout happened in a local area shopping parking lot. It is believed that three men were shooting at two other men across the parking lot. Two innocent bystanders were shot – a 54 year old woman was shot in the back as she stood in front of her car in the parking lot and a 20 something year old man was shot in his leg as he exited one of the stores in the shopping center. Both have been rushed to the hospital in critical but stable condition. Dekalb county police arrived but were unable to apprehend the suspects.”
They mentioned the location of the shopping center – it’s not that far from my house. It’s not a shopping center I visit, but I have been there before when I first moved to Atlanta. But that doesn’t matter – the location is random and incidental. This kind of senseless violence is daily and rampant. The next story talked about the explosion of gangs in the Metro Atlanta area :
“…15,000 documented gang members here in this city and for every 15,000 documented member, there is at least 3-5 that are undocumented, which means the number is closer to 40,000 gang members in metro Atlanta.
The news told me to tune back in at 11:00 to listen to a jailhouse interviews with gang members. I will not be tuning in at 11:00. I must admit, there is a part of me that wants to know about it because I want to know JUST how bad it REALLY is…truth is I already know. But the part of me which seeks the Most High and His comfort – that part of me who seeks peace and some sort of reconciliation of this madness – she, who is me, who hopes to find human compassion and kindness in a world of soulless cruelty and bitter self-loathing – will NOT be tuning in at 11:00.
I shut the television off and decided that I had to find my words tonight to write this piece. My lost words had to be gathered up and strung together and put out into this universe. I had to add my two cents to the pot of collective confusion, fevered frustration and, more tangibly, fear. But here’s the thing about my fear: I’m more concerned and suspect about the people who look most like me and live in my communities and neighborhoods. I’m cautious and always prayerful when I’m out in this world – in my community, shopping or running errands – doing every day common things that require us to leave our homes. I’m always prayerful when I leave my house – for myself and my children – and I’m always thankful to God when I return to the safety of it afterwards.
**Shaking my head and sighing loudly** Should I be afraid of what the President Elect will represent for me and so many others like myself? I’m concerned and we’ll just have to wait and see what comes. I have been reminded in the past week, however, that we as black folk have survived a great deal in America – slavery, Jim Crow, civil rights, and now just being black and surviving day to day. I see all the protesting going on around the country – none of it will remove him from office, – Oh I wish it were that simple! But I get it. I get the feeling of discord and dissatisfaction that looms in the air behind this election. I get it – the absolute “What the Fuck!” sentiments. I feel it, too. But truthfully, what I’m REALLY concerned about NOW is what’s happening in my own neighborhood from and to the people who look like me.
In the aftermath of this election, I’ve read and heard collective voices summoning us, black and brown people, to come together and stand strong in unity. Seems like a good idea, but then it always was a dream of our past leaders and civil rights soldiers, wasn’t it? The sad truth is that we – black people – do not come together. We are disconnected from each other and until we connect and REALLY love each other, there will be no unification of our people. There is just too much hate in this world – in our community – in our neighborhoods – in our hearts.
For all that we black folk have weathered together, triumphed over and thrived into, is this what we’ve come to? Where did the hate come from? We KNOW white folks didn’t (many still don’t) like us, but when did we start not liking each other? Wasn’t there a time – not so long ago –when we were all we had? Donald Trump in the White House makes me angry. Seeing the daily reports of insidious cancerous violence against each other just makes me sad.