A lot of the people around me are bleeding right now. This new Trump-Pence administration our collective short-sightedness and apathy has created in the United States is already leading to a maelstrom of troubling consequences. I get Washington Post pop-ups on my computer, and besides the OH MY GOD PLEASE TELL ME YOU’RE F*ING KIDDING ME of the travel ban, other little gems I’ve read lately include rebuking Senator Elizabeth Warren for reading a letter from Coretta Scott King, the defunding of public broadcasting (along with the NEA and NEH), and then, of course, there was the whole Australia thing.
Here in DC, this domino effect of crises is more than just an unfortunate bit of news in the Post. They affect people’s livelihoods, heck, their whole LIFESTYLE and life-long careers. Plus, most of my friends are minorities of one kind or another — they are people of color, queer folks, people born outside the United States. What’s going on right now isn’t just politics as usual; it’s personal.
So I decided to turn to Yoda for advice about what to do with ourselves right now.
I’ve always considered Yoda to be an important advisor in my life. Here are a few of his quotes to guide us through these dark times. (This post is similar to my post about self-care during the holiday season.)
Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will…
Take-away: As tempting as it is, don’t meet anger and fear with more anger and fear. In the end, Luke triumphs over Vader, not through hatred, but through his compassion. Compassion might take longer to destroy our enemies, but it is the more viable long-term solution. And the last thing we all need is MORE anger and fear right now.
Patience you must have, my young padawan.
Take-away: We’re going to get through this. But we’re not going to get through it tomorrow, or the next day, or maybe even four years from now. We have to work and keep working, resist and keep resisting. We have to have a long-term view and we need to take one day at a time.
You must unlearn what you have learned.
Take-away: We thought we knew what our country was all about. We thought certain pieces of the progress we have made, like in the realms of LGBTQ rights, were done deals. Finished. We could brush our hands together and move onto the next task. But no progress is undoable. We need to unlearn our complacency, stop leaving the activism to the “professional activists.” We all need to get involved if we care about our future.
In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.
Take-away: Combat darkness by continuing to educate and improve ourselves. If Trump-Pence isn’t what we want, what DO we want? And how do we want to get there?
Many of the truths we cling to depend upon our point of view.
Take-away: Okay, so this is actually Obi-Wan, not Yoda, but it’s still valid Jedi wisdom. And this one might be one of the most important ones of all. The people who voted for Trump-Pence, they’re not all bad people. They simply have a different perspective. And many of the things that they care about — like the shrinking working / middle class — those are important things. They also care about corruption within our government and special interests controlling things too much. That’s also important. If we didn’t support Trump-Pence, that doesn’t make his supporters automatically bad or stupid, and it doesn’t make us automatically good or right. These are important points to keep in mind if we are ever going to find a middle ground again.