I woke up at 4:25 this morning and immediately opened the AJC to look at the election results.
Some of my friends spent the past week vacillating between fretting over a potential loss for Stacey Abrams and trying to be doggedly hopeful so that would be the energy that got released out into the universe.
Me? Well, it never occurred to me–on any serious level–that Stacey Abrams might lose.
I realize that this seems foolish to anyone who has followed Georgia politics at all, ever. But she was so clearly the right choice. And Kemp is… well, Kemp.
There’s a lot at stake here in Georgia: reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, the rights of black folks to exist without unending harrassment. And an Abrams loss places those rights in peril.
I may be an irrepressible optimist, but I maintain a solid grasp on my surroundings.
This is bad.
Maybe it’s because I spent the years after college fleeing activism (and really, much meaningful civic engagement) because I no longer believed anything I did made a difference. Or maybe it’s because I’ve lived through depression, and slipping into despair over the election feels a bit too close to that. Or it could be because a writing project has me digging through gay newspapers from the mid-1990s—and oh my god, was that shit bleak. For whatever reason, the universe seems to have volleyed a little hope my way. And it’s working.
I am successfully putting one foot in front of the other today.
When I’m confounded by the reality unfolding in front of me, I tend to lean back on AA maxims. They haven’t failed me yet. And one of them (and I’m paraphrasing here) is get out of your own damn head and be of service to someone else.
I thought about that–about being of service–almost immediately after seeing the election results. I took it to heart. And I knew right away what to do.
There’s a clothing & food pantry at a nearby church. Very nearby. Walkable from my house. There’s a beautiful soul in the neighborhood who leads the a never-ending charge to keep enough food in it so that people have their basic needs met, and enough clothes, shoes, and blankets so they are warm at night.
That is work that needs to be done. Right now. This instant.
And that is what I can do.
I went to the store and gathered supplies: a few sweatshirts, some quick bites to eat, pop-top canned pasta. And I took it to the pantry. Because that was the next right thing. And regardless of who won or lost the election, people have to eat.
Yes, I believe that Stacey Abrams would have enacted policies that would benefit our unhoused population and people existing on the razor thin margin of the poverty-line. But we don’t get Stacey Abrams in office. So, we have to do what it takes to look out for each other. To offer love and help where it’s possible.
This loss, which is devastating on so many levels, isn’t the end of the work that has to be done. We have so much to fight for. And we still have each other.
It looks like that is going to have to be enough for now.
We are enough.
* Please note that, although I am doing okay, I’m also calling on St. Jude (the Patron Saint of Lost Causes–or Things Despaired of, whatever) and St. Dolly to pull me through today. Be kind to yourself. You are loved.