The election of the new president of the United States was the inglorious epilogue in the global spread of regressive, dangerous ideology. To the smart women who write, it feels like a very clear confirmation that something beautiful and important in the soul of not just the nation, but the world, has died.
Without consciously having orchestrated it, each of us (Tanya, Bryna, and Angela) wrote about living and writing and working with this stark confirmation fresh in our hearts these past few weeks. If you read all three posts together, they look a little bit like the disjointed phases of grief.
“Children Will Listen,” by Tanya Roth reflects on the challenges of providing support and a safe space when you yourself are struggling to manage what’s happening. Tanya recalls another similar moment when she failed in meeting that challenge, but also discusses how that experience helped her think about how to support students and continue to teach in the days after the election of 2016.
“Finding Guidance in Activist Art History,” by Bryna Campbell, seeks guidance in the past – specifically in a history of activist art too often ignored in art historical discourses, even though they offer the tools of resistance and resilience necessary for times of crisis. Bryna reflects on how she’s been able to use activist work created during the AIDS crisis to connect with college students in the immediate aftermath of the election
“Writing in the Apocalypse of 2016,” by Angela Sutton is an only-slightly facetious take on her post-election feelings: in order to cope with the stark reality of global politics, Angela thinks through ways to help other writers, and ultimately comes to the conclusion that if the world indeed could possibly come to an end sooner rather than later, we may as well all run after our dreams at twice the speed we have been. There is literally no more time to waste dreaming while we may be running out of time to take action.
So yes, readers, the smart women who write are grieving right now. We know that just like with Reagan’s presidency, many people are going to suffer in the regime to come. Those with fewer networks and safety nets will slip through the cracks and they will become healthcare casualties, or victims of deadly hate-crimes. A great many who could have survived with access to a trained professional will take their own lives, and many more will disappear from our society quietly, ground down by poverty and a lack of basic social services. In the end, the coroner will declare heart failure, because in the end, isn’t heart failure the cause of everyone’s death?
We’re sorry we don’t have a brighter, more cheerful post for you today. But we will leave you with this: after grief comes something new for those who survive. As long as our hearts beat and our pens have ink, we will be here, spilling it out onto the page with honesty and determination. We write in the darkness, trusting that one day there will again be a light. As long as our hearts haven’t failed, we will keep them aflame in this darkness. That’s our promise to you.
From now on, hold your people every day, and tell them you love them. And hold on to hope.
All the very best,
The Women of SWW