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Disappointed but not Hopeless in Trump’s America

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Fringe Benefits

By Bruce Willen

I don’t feel shocked or really that surprised. In the morning light our collective votes have crystalized into a jagged reality, but the signs have been visible for quite some time. Mainly I feel worried and ashamed for our country. And deeply disappointed.

I’m disappointed in friends in big American cities, who don’t see the bubble that they live in.

I’m disappointed that America can be so cavalier about xenophobia and sexual violence.

I’m disappointed in our country’s lack of empathy, foresight, or sense of common purpose.

I’m disappointed that our political parties exploit this division for short-term gain.

I’m disappointed that so many people are so terrified of the future.

I’m disappointed in people whose vision of the future values “disruption” over equity.

I’m disappointed in the media for not taking politics seriously, for focusing on polls, campaigns, and soundbites, for creating false equivalencies.

I’m disappointed in the media for enabling a sociopathic con-man for the sake of ratings.

I’m disappointed in 60 million people for believing the lies they want to hear.

I’m disappointed in the political industry who helped this con-man because it was expedient for their agendas or careers.

I’m disappointed in the Republicans for their incredible lack of integrity.

I’m disappointed in the Democrats for their incredible myopia.

I’m disappointed in apathy and its consequences — millions of people die and suffer, struggle or thrive, lose their homes or freedom based on the decisions of American presidents. Lives matter.

I’m disappointed by putting too much of my faith in my politicians.

I’m disappointed that we typically ignore local politics, when it is a place where individuals can actually become the change that we seek.

I’m disappointed that millions of women, immigrants, Muslims, and people with brown skin continue to feel ostracized and afraid in their own country.

I’m disappointed that many of us are teaching this to our children.

I’m disappointed in America’s entrenched sexism and racism.

I’m disappointed when we call others “sexist” and “racist” as a way of shutting down conversation.

I’m disappointed at how difficult it is to admit our own biases.

I’m disappointed that it’s easier to appeal to fear and anger than rationality.

I’m disappointed in the new normal.

I’m disappointed in myself for not doing more.

· · ·

But I’m also hopeful.

I’m hopeful that old ideologies and hatreds are perhaps beginning their death throes.

I am hopeful because a truth is inherently more powerful than a lie.

I am hopeful because most of us are actually pretty nice to each other when we aren’t on the internet.

I’m hopeful because the America of the future is more tolerant than the America of yesterday.

I am hopeful for the spark of a true progressive movement.

I’m hopeful because more people are rethinking capitalism.

I am hopeful because each day more people are waking up.

I’m hopeful that we can try to understand people whose points of view we disagree with or even find abhorrent.

I’m hopeful that we can create dialog with each other in small ways, even when the larger conversation collapses.

I’m hopeful that as individuals we can be positive examples for each other, even if our leaders will not do the same.

I am hopeful because the actions of national politicians often matter less than we think they do.

I am hopeful because I am surrounded by a community of amazing individuals who tolerate, love, and support each other, even in pessimistic times.

I am hopeful because I know that great art often comes from periods of great darkness.

I am hopeful that we can still build a more equitable society.

I’m hopeful because I live in a real city where I am inspired by people overcoming adversity every day.

I am hopeful for reminders that progress is leaving many people behind.

I am hopeful that we can respond to fear and hate with love and empathy.

I am hopeful that we can learn, and that we can do better next time.

I am hopeful for reminders that we can never take progress for granted.

I am hopeful that I can try harder.

*****

Author Bruce Willen is partner at Post Typography, a studio specializing in graphic design, conceptual typography, and custom lettering/illustration with additional forays into art, apparel, music, curatorial work, design theory, and vandalism.

This list was originally published here.

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