hope in the heartland

the last time I drove through the heartland, in the summer of 2016, was when I realized that DT would win the presidency.

(it was a scary realization, seeing how popular he'd become. so many bumper stickers and handmade signs. it was so very scary.)

and what I'm realizing now, back in the heartland of the USA, is that all those the signs and stickers have mostly been taken down. some have even been defaced (M saw one with a "stinks" written under it.) people don't do that, I think, unless they are dissatisfied. unless they feel personally cheated. unless they are upset.

and oh, that gives me hope.

though it's not enough, their dissatisfaction with the man who is president, to stem the tide of the growing swing towards fascism. nor to undo the changes that have already been wrought. the children who we have already scarred for life. the families who will now have to unpack trauma for (at least) three generations.

and it does nothing to stop the ocean's rising, or the fires which will burn more and more every year as we continue do nothing about climate change. and even after, since there's no "whoops, we didn't mean to let this get so out of hand" climate reset button.

and it does nothing to ward off the likelihood of pandemics.

and it does nothing to kickstart social justice. to make white people understand, deep down, that black lives truly matter more than white feelings. to make cisgendered men realize how very prevalent sexual assault is (and how memorable it is to women, whereas to the man who commits it, it is entirely forgettable). to make people grok, deeply and truly, that we are interconnected. that your pain is my pain, and my pain is yours.

and even if we have a blue wave during this upcoming election season (please, please, please) it doesn't fix everything overnight or even longterm. late stage (end stage?!) capitalism will continue running (and ruining) everything.

because it really is all intertwined. climate change. social justice. the personal is political and the political is personal.

still, I take a certain sense of satisfaction in knowing that the people who got bamboozled by the man's popularity are starting to shake that effect off. maybe that will lead to lasting change. maybe.

and finding hope in a hopeless place seems to have become my jam. because it has to be.

the alternative - having no hope at all - isn't a possibility. until it is. and that's when I realized I had to be the source of my own hope.

because that is who I am. I have to hold on to hope in order to maintain the flexibility that being alive requires. I have to find hope in order to survive. I am a survivor. that is who I am.

and hope is the key to survival.

(that and a really good backup plan. also a backup plan for your backup plan. and the flexibility to change plans when you need to.)