It’s tempting to whine. Or shout. Or roll up like a threatened hedgehog in the full light of what I would call The Day After. I want to sell my apartment and move anywhere I don’t have to hear his name at the start of every day. But my guess right now? Everyone will be hearing his name at the start of every day for a very long while. That’s why he ran. That’s what he was after all along.
So, what to do?
Amelia Earhart would say, “Be but the challenge.” I’m going with that today and this is how I will proceed, in the face of hate, in the face of fear, in the face of bigotry, and even face to face with my own family who helped put him in office. I will be the challenge.
And I will love.
I will love my neighbor MORE than myself.
I will love my children and continue to teach and protect them with every bit of my self, every single day.
I will love my country and the persistent, undying hope of a future that is always brighter than the day at hand.
I will love our system of laws and how they are meant to keep our darker nature in check.
I will love the promise of a new day, every day.
I will love that I go to bed each night in a clean, safe place and I wake up every day to clean water and enough food, and that every day I can do something to ensure that more and more families have these basic comforts.
I will love that we telegraph our intent to strike terrorist strongholds like Mosul so that the lives of some of her people might be saved even if ultimately, we would not be able to save everyone.
I will love that war ends and there is always a glimmer of peace.
I will love anyone who comes to me looking for help, food, or shelter, and I will work to make sure that fewer and fewer people need my help.
I will love that women, while being denied the chance to serve as Commander in Chief are given the chance to govern states and represent their constituents.
Women learned a lot this year. We must take what we have learned and use it immediately to protect our girls and to teach them how not to repeat our mistakes. So they too may be the challenge.
Predators will be protected. Rapists will go free. Men will continue to tell us what and how to do everything we attempt – except for one thing. I will call it our Ray of Hope.
While we do not yet have the corner office, we do serve as mayors, governors, congresspersons, senators, attorneys general, police officers, military personnel – and that, my fellow Americans, is profound. We will continue the fight I believed was long over. We will circle the wagons because, when any one of us is attacked, we must all feel the blow.
Because I grew up in Michigan, I know a bit about winter. And I know the promise of spring: that small, green growing things will push up through the snow and flower in the face of impossible odds.
Indeed, we are better than this. We will continue to be better than this because we share hope and we share love.
Love has not failed me in the past, it will shore me up now.
That is our challenge in the days to come.
Anne Born is the author of A Marshmallow on the Bus, (2014), Prayer Beads on the Train (2015), and Waiting on a Platform (2016). Her work has been published in the Newtown Literary Journal and in “Me, as a Child” and ”All About My Name” Series published by Silver Birch Press. She is the editor of These Winter Months: The Late Orphan Project Anthology (2016), and her essay on Hillary Clinton’s religious faith was included in Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox, edited by Joanne Bamberger. Her poetry has been featured in New York at Boundless Tales, Word Up Community Bookstore, and the Queens Council on the Arts. She has been a featured performer with Inspired Word New York City, the New York Transit Museum, and on Queens Public TV in The World of Arts. Anne divides her time between New York and Michigan, and the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Follow Anne Born at The Backpack Press, and on Twitter, Redbubble, Wattpad, and Instagram @nilesite. Listen to Born in the Bronx podcasts on Our Salon Radio.