Lucy Darlington is a Philadelphia area therapist who has previously contributed to Serendip's "Writing Descartes: I Am, and I Can Think, Therefore ...". This essay refers to that exhibit ("Be, Think, Act") and is made available, with Lucy's permission, as a contribution to a Serendip on-line forum discussion of "The Place of the US in the World Community, November 2004". Readers are invited to join that discussion with comments.

The Week After the Election

Lucy Darlington
11 November 2004

So, I ask myself to look in the mirror after this election. Not an easy or necessarily desirable task when the neural response to the outcome is one of anger, fear, etc. All those pesky peptides gushing through my body telling me "the sky is falling, the sky is falling" make me more inclined to go out and smash and bash then stand quietly and look. But I am more than my biology or so I want to believe. As Paul says, "Be, Think, Act". I think by "Be" he means the state of existence both emotional and physical that precedes thought or action. So, here I Be in front of the mirror.

I am struck by the eyes of fear, a little girls’ recognition that the old man, thought to be safely tucked under 6 feet of dirt, has cloned himself into the White House. The good old boy smirk that smeared his face letting us know what he thought of women, democrats, and essentially anyone who thought differently then he, now belongs to the dry drunk in the White House. His dangerous belief that humans are superior to all and that nature must bow to our dominance has found a host body to thrive in and the host happens to run the most powerful nation in the world!

The little girl’s stomach is tying up in knots. Her hands are clenching against the growing terror that she knows so well. She is angry with me. Haven’t I promised her that the days of living under smug, church going, alcoholic, child beating, soul destroying, womanizing, knee-jerk Roosevelt hating, multiple personality mother fuckers, were over? Haven’t I promised her that we wouldn’t live in terror again and would only surround ourselves with people who shared our belief that violence; emotional and physical are unacceptable. She is scared and angry and wants to eat sugar and run away from home.

She wants me to hurt someone. I tell her I know the impulse. I remind her of our agreement that emotional and physical harm are unacceptable methods of assuaging pain. Would she have me be like the old man?

"But it’s not fair", she screams! "He hurts people and no body punishes him, he lies and people say he is god fearing, he’s a little despot and people say he is a good American, it’s not fair."

"I know it’s not fair. It’s not fair that people allow themselves to be convinced that it is time to rape the land so they can drive their SUV’s, and they won’t have to be uncomfortable while we find alternative ways to heat our homes and run our businesses. It’s not fair that people are so greedy. It’s not fair that people have brought religion into politics. None of it is fair. But guess what, they do and they did and they won. I hate you and I hate him", she screams. "I hate this whole world where everybody thinks the bad people are good and the good people are evil."

"Don’t I know".

Meanwhile I’m thinking, "jesus christ, it’s not bad enough I am going to see that man’s face in every magazine and newspaper, I’ve got to deal with this kid too. What am I supposed to do with her?

"Look" I say, "remember Joni Mitchell; everything comes and goes, marked by lovers and styles of clothes. This too will pass, four years will be over in a flash".

"Sure," she says, "right". I watch in the mirror as the eyes glaze over and I know that I am in for it now. She holds the ember of my creativity. If she goes into hiding I am bound for the greyness of life without fire. I’ve been there, I won’t go back.

Looking her eye to eye I say gently, "you are worrying about what will happen, and remembering what has happened. Maybe you are right and maybe you are wrong. Maybe we’ll all end up as troglites, but maybe something different will happen, hell, women and afro-americans got the vote. Rather than hiding in fear how about opening your heart even wider than before and let yourself be surprised. Don’t become them. We’ve got to die someday, let’s do it with a smile. No dour faced red state look for us baby, we are looking good in blue. Let’s stick out our chest, shake our booty, and let them all wonder what the hell we are enjoying. No hiding, no trembling, pure pleasure, the best revenge.

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