There’s a small parking lot in West Falmouth behind the post office where the breeze always carries the scent of the sea. Even in January when you don’t expect it. Getting out of the car yesterday, I was greeted by the sound of a gull and a scent memory of sand and water and summer. A positive message of hope.
A reminder of all that is good in the world on a day that I so wanted to be filled with positive energy and hope for the future, but sadly was inviting a feeling of dread instead. A new order had taken over the helm of government with bravado and brashness, leaving me with the troubling feeling that strength without substance is a battle that can’t be won. Inaugural speech that provided more worry about what will happen than wonder at what might be possible. But the message carried on the breeze was one of promise that the icy blasts of winter will give way to the soft breezes of summer, and our democracy will survive.
Perhaps this whole election cycle, as troubling as it was, will serve as a wake-up call. I’m not going to pretend that I’m anything other than a stereotype. A liberal, college educated, East Coast suburban white woman. To say that I found the anger and animosity of the crowds that attended the Trump rallies and ultimately rode him into office shocking and troubling would be an understatement.
Seeing the frustration and fear that drove the desire for change at any cost in so many made me very aware that I breathe rarified air. I’ve never feared hunger or foreclosure or unemployment. My medical needs have always been met without question. Do I believe that a Trump administration will be the vehicle for change that will make a difference? Honestly, no. But I’m newly aware of why so many people would cling to that hope.
At one point during the months leading up to the election, Time Magazine ran a headline referring to the country as the Divided States of America. Donald Trump knew how to incite the anger and disillusionment that divides us and use it to his advantage. But the campaign is over. It’s time to govern. Now is the time to find the commonality that will move us all forward. I wish I had heard more about uniting opposing factions in yesterday’s speech. Perhaps it will be up to us to bridge those gaps without clear direction from the government.
The sun will set on today. Tomorrow it will rise on a country headed in a direction many find troubling, but others applaud. Yes, we view the situation with different eyes, but I have to believe in the inherent goodness of people. We’re all in this together.