I'm depressed and angry. But then again, what intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate person isn't, these days?
I keep asking myself why I bother to write, read, think, make art, when I could be devoting my life to activism and when there is such a clear need for activism, given what is happening in this country these days. Every time I ask myself the question, I come back to the same thing: Bush didn't steal the election, at least not this time, and that means that people out there wanted him in charge. Not only that, but they supported him based on his moral values, an idea which makes me either want to laugh or cry (but usually both). What that means is that I can't just rise up in righteous outrage against the evils of this government. It's the beliefs of the American people that are going to have to change, and activism just isn't going to cut it. (If nothing else, most activism comes off as patronizing as hell.)
But you know what? Stories might work, because stories move the heart, and the head follows the heart. As Scheler says, we cannot know what we do not already love. You can't convince someone of something that they don't already, somehow, feel is right - and so I'm not going to waste my time arguing with people who believe in the institutionalization of bigotry and all that other good stuff that Bush actually represents. Instead, I'm going to play it sneaky and hit them where it counts: in the heart, not the head.
What this means is that even though I would like to leave the country and go somewhere that actually reflects my values, I am going to stay and fight. I am going to stay and fight even though this government has made it damn clear that as a woman, a bisexual person and a non-Christian, this is sure as hell not going to be my country. I am going to stay and fight using the weapon that I am best with: stories. I am going to make people think, I am going to make them feel, and I am damn well going to make them reconsider the nature of their moral responsibilities and the quality of their values.
If I - we - can't change the hearts and minds of the people that we have to share a country with, we may someday look back on this election with nostalgia for better days. But if we can open their hearts to the possibility of change, I do believe that someday this country can again be my America.