Dying is easy, living is harder: Post 2018 midterm election reflections

The Democrats took back the house, and we have lots of meaningful victories. The Democratic congress is more female, browner, gayer, than it’s ever been. But we are arguably still within the normal backswing after a presidential election. This was nothing like a united nation decrying the bigotry, hatred, and fear-mongering that Donald Trump has made “normal” politics. White women still voted for Ted Cruz by as much as 64%. White men voted for him by 70%. Voter suppression occurred all over the country, and may very well be the deciding factor in the Georgia gubernatorial race. 

In some ways, this kind of result is harder than defeat. In the face of crisis one can summon up all one’s strength for an all-out fight, and in the face of total powerlessness there’s a security that we are not responsible for the damage that is being done to our societal and political infrastructure. But we are still alive. Democracy has a beating heart in this country and we must figure out how to survive long enough, nurse ourselves to health, gather and nourish our strength. We must do this in the face of ever-increasing daily threats to our safety, security, dignity, and well-being. Let’s not fall for the narrative that this election is a sign “things are going to get better”. It’s just a sign we’re still alive. Things are going to get a whole lot harder first. 

We’re back in the game in a significant way, and we must play it fiercely and with unwavering love, for ourselves, each other, and for what is right and true. When we are this depleted, this tired, this under daily stress, we need to focus on nourishing our own spirits and supporting those around us. We must resist daily, and at the same time leave ourselves a little stronger for the fight the next day. We need to stay alive for a long time. 

I learned from my experience with the Kavanaugh/ Blasey Ford hearings. Last night I didn’t pretend I could just tough it out on my own. I spent the evening with friends, loved ones. I externalized my fear and pain, including the way stress was manifesting in my body as physical pain. I’m going back to work today a little bit stronger, with a little bit more to give. 

Community is everything now. Pray, practice, gather. Surround yourself with those who remind you that you’re still alive, who feed your fire. Commit and recommit to practices that make you fiercer, stronger, and at the same time also more loving and sensitive. Turning hard, turning to stone is just another form of death. We must keep our hearts beating. 

I’m excited to be able to hold space like this teaching yoga at my home tonight. Join me, join others. Take the time you need to feel deeply alive and powerful. Love is not a luxury right now. It’s everything.