I won't even try to pretend that I'm not absolutely terrified at the prospect of having to somehow endure the next four years. President-elect Trump (how bitter it is to type that!) is already appointing white nationalists to his transition team, and the names of candidates for top cabinet positions being floated are a list of truly deplorable thugs, racists, idiots, and ultra fundamentalist Christian conservatives who deny science (climate change, evolution) and want to roll back civil liberties for almost everyone. People like Ben Carson, Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, and Rudy Giuliani. And of course, worst of all is his VP pick, Mike Pence. It's an utter nightmare. These people have no decency, no honor, and no scruples. Trump's campaign manager went on record yesterday telling the press to "watch what you say or else". Hate crimes against gay people, people of color, and immigrants have broken out all over the country in the few days since the election.
I'm scared to death.
But there is still comfort to be found if I look for it and refuse to give in to despair.
This is Edward Rogers, a WW2 navy vet I met at the bookstore last Thursday night. We discussed his service to our country, and how my grandfather also fought in WW2 as a sergeant in the U.S. air corps. Mr. Rogers told me he had served in the Pacific; my grandfather, Joseph Czmiel, served in Europe. (I have a great photo of him wearing a kilt while in Scotland!) It seemed fitting to meet him on the eve of Veteran's Day, and I thanked him for his service. How remarkable that he served our country in that terrible war 20 years before the Voting Rights Act came to be law, a young man from the segregated South.
When I asked this good man what he thought of the election, he took my hand in his soft, wrinkly, weathered old hands and replied simply, "I cried."
I cried a little bit then. I couldn't help it. But Mr. Rogers held my hand and very gently explained that we have to keep trying to do the right thing, to keep voting our conscience, and that "this too shall pass"...he said we've seen hard times in this country before, and we survived, and we will again. What a balm to my troubled soul it was. Being of my grandfather's generation, he knew what he was talking about.
Then on Saturday, I was scheduled to lead the 11am storytime for little kids at work. The story was called Penguin Problems
and it was about a young penguin who is sad because he has all sorts of things troubling him. Then an old walrus comes to him, introduces himself, and proceeds to share these words of wisdom about dealing with problems with the youngster. I'm sharing them here for anyone that might need them today like I did.
Jennifer, I am very glad that you posted this today. If you ever see Mr. Rogers again, please also give him my thanks.ReplyDelete
I will, indeed.Delete
A most uplifting post. Thanks.ReplyDelete
Thanks for reading.Delete
Love the wise words from the old walrus.ReplyDelete
"I cried." So moving. I enjoyed his wise words of encouragement, too.ReplyDelete
It must be such a disappointment, at his age, to find this country in the situation it's in these days.Delete
Bit teary. The world worries with you.ReplyDelete
I know. A whole lot of people all over the world will have to live with the consequences of this election.Delete
I hope that some of Mr Rogers's stoic attitude has rubbed off on you. He cried at first but now he's looking forward. He has a wise "lived in" face. That guy has seen a lot of stuff.ReplyDelete
He sure has....seen a lot of stuff, I mean. Thanks YP.Delete
Thank you to you and Thank You to Mr Rogers. You are doing the next right thing and have inspired me.ReplyDelete
I'm just trying not to succumb to despair at this point. Thank you for the kind words.Delete
Wonderful post today.We all have to hope for the best.ReplyDelete
I have a Gay Daughter and I am worried.
I did not vote for Hillary but I didn't vote Trump either.
Daughter told me many younger people just didn't vote where she lives. There went the election. Hello ?
The DNC lost this election they are as out of touch with me, the middle class, hard working tax paying disenfranchised voters like me.
I am much older than you and I have lived through many bad times but as much as I dislike Trump I am more scared about Pence.
I'm so worried about my gay and transsexual friends. All I can do is to keep reminding them that I'm here for them, and will stand up for them whenever I can. Pence is worse than Trump, no doubt about it. Although they're both despicable.Delete
Thank you for sharing your encounter with Mr Rogers with us. We only got a brief glimpse of him, but he looks and sounds a very kind, decent man. I hope there are many, many more like him, and not enough of the bad sort to make your fears about the next 4 years come true.ReplyDelete
I hope so, too.Delete
Thanks to you and ditto thanks to Mr. Rogers!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Mitchell. I appreciate it.Delete
I cried too...not because a Republican beat a Democrat but because a womanizer denied us a woman president; because a racist will replace our first African-American president..and because the very things that folks like Mr. Rogers and your grandfather fought WW2 over have now infected the highest levels of our government. It's sickening. I'm trying to get past it, let go, stay positive. But the hatred is just suffocating.ReplyDelete
I'm glad you were able to find comfort in the stories of Mr. Rogers and the old walrus. We all need a little sunshine right now. Hang in there :-)
You put it all so well that I have nothing to add, except I'm right there with you.Delete
I am grateful we live in the uk......it will get better jennifer... It will xxxReplyDelete
John, I wish we could move there. I'm not joking, either. I'm ashamed of this country.Delete
Hi - I've just butted in from Librarian's blog. I enjoyed your post. We have been watching your election with interest over here and there are certainly some scary aspects to Mr Trump. Hilary seemed to be the lesser of two pretty unsuitable candidates to many over here. I share your concerns about blinkered, intolerant, people too. But I can see how Trump might appeal to some - and that's a worry too. We need to deal with what we have, though. I would also say that it takes cataclysmic events to turn civilisation backwards. Walrus sounds like a good egg to me :-)ReplyDelete
This was a beautiful post. So profound and touching. Thank you for sharing it. You sound like a really lovely and thoughtful young woman.ReplyDelete