Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Trump is here

The election is over. I’d gotten about as exasperated as anybody else about the acrimony surrounding this one, and was looking forward to this day. Admittedly, however, I had expected a different outcome. Having worried far more than usual about this election because I think Trump unfit to be president, the news came as a shock when it became clear that Trump was winning. I slept fitfully.

This morning I went, as usual, to lift weights at the gym. At one point, I left the area where I do my upper-body exercises because I could do the same exercises elsewhere and at the same time avoid an anguished conversation between a trainer and his client, ranting about politics. I just couldn’t take it.

Ultimately, I wandered into the group-training room to say hello to my friend Tanya, who stretches in there. I’m always interested to discover what she’s listening to while she stretches. Tanya usually has podcasts going from the London School of Economics or some other erudite institution, and I often learn something simply by stretching out nearby. I confessed to her that the election results had me worried, and went on to say that I wanted as a result to spend more time talking to people with opinions and experiences different from mine, and that I intended to spend less time on social media and reading my favorite news sites, both of which tend to reinforce previously-held opinions.

Tanya’s cool. She agreed that she was shocked by the outcome, but had already resolved to find reasons for hope. Taking the long point of view, she wondered if things might ultimately come out better if this acrimonious election and new leadership led the nation to re-think core beliefs and values, reaffirming things that had brought her to emigrate here in the first place. She enumerated for me a few optimistic notions she’d entertained, admitting that they were by no means guaranteed. She just wanted to focus on the best possibilities. I left the room feeling better.

Later, as I undressed for my shower, I got an email from my friend Gaye in Turkey. She and I had last been in touch when Recep Erdogan clamped down on all of Turkey after a feeble and flimsy coup attempt, and I expressed my condolences. Gaye wrote back earlier today to express her own condolences and to worry about what’s happening to the world in general. This time she wanted me to know what she values but feels that the world does not value, however much it should. Here’s her list: Humanity, equality, peace, science, nature, sociality, good personality, intelligence. I think it’s a good one, and I’ve copied it onto my phone. I want to support these properties by my own actions on an everyday basis. Perhaps you will make a similar list for yourself and join me.