America, The Shattered
Last night's election left us stunned. It wasn't the glass ceiling that shattered, but instead, our hearts, hopes, and dreams. It's an unbelievable fact to process: the most qualified woman in politics, who has dedicated her entire life to service, is going home, while the most unqualified man, who spews ideological bile and offensive hot air, will move into the White House. This is the equivalent of Pope Francis going to Hell and Jeffrey Dahmer going to Heaven. No, I'm not saying Hillary is The Pope and that Trump is Dahmer. However, in both scenarios, it is us, the citizens, that wait in Purgatory.
It's difficult to maintain hope with so much division and uncertainty. But perhaps hope is what we need to lose. According to ordained Tibetan Buddhist nun, Pema Chödrön, maintaining hope is what keeps things as-is, status quo, stagnant. In her book When Things Fall Apart, she explores how when all hope is completely lost, that's when change happens. That's when the hopeless stop clinging to keep things the same or trying to go back. It is in hopelessness that they make a change, start with a new outlook, and new approach.
So what do we do as Americans while waiting in Purgatory? Do we sit and see how it plays out or do we organize our thoughts and place them into action? We must all change our goals and ideas from nouns into verbs (i.e., don't be a sitting duck—waddle and quack!). Without action, frustration and sadness isn't enough. Remember, it is the angry, frustrated voter that took action by showing up at the polls to vote in the new President Elect.
America, There's Something Happening Here...
As I write this blog, many Americans are already taking to the streets in activism and protest. Although, this will not change who our next President will be, it has reignited us to get involved, to fight for governmental change, and human rights, our rights. No matter how many times it's repeated, this is yet another reminder that every vote counts.
I initially intended to write this blog, America: Part 3, about how wonderful and gorgeous America is and how much I learned about my road trip across America. Instead, I leave you with pictures I snapped of the wide range of geography, topography, geology, coast lines, formations, and endless plains.
The landscape of America is as diverse and beautiful as the immigrants, the citizens, and the aspirations that inhabit this land. I hope you find a connection to one of these photos. Perhaps you can relate to that mountain, that arch, that cloud, that landscape, on some level. And like the ever-changing-landscape, may we each find our own personal way to contribute, to take action, to move mountains, and not to resign to anything less than what we envision for our America, The Beautiful.
America, The Beautiful in Snapshots
"The Mountains are calling and I must go." John Muir (Below Tennessee)
Badlands, South Dakota
Yellowstone National Park
Arches National Park, Moab, Utah
Monterey Coast, the Day Before Election Night
"I want to be like Water. I want to slip through fingers but hold up ship." - Michelle Williams