Fight or flight

Fight or flight instincts regarding America and the presidential election started kicking in practically the moment the outcome was announced.

Since I’m already an ocean away, flight had a distinct advantage. I wanted so badly to stay in Europe and wash my hands of this mess forever. People from a dozen different countries told me to stay here as long as I can. I knew I shouldn’t flee, that there are tens of millions of Americans who need my help and my fight.

Intellectually I understood this; emotionally I was not yet there.

From the safety of a thousand miles away, I had the privilege of being able to mourn for a bit longer.

I was — and am — so sad. It’s a simple word – sad – but the most fitting. I don’t know how to help a country where at least a third of people don’t see the problem. Surrounded by nearly 60 million people who voted on the side of hatred, reluctantly or not, I cannot feel safe. I am so disheartened.

But I am also angry. And in the long days we have had this new president-elect, this rage has fueled my fire and compelled me to take action.

In Ireland, I am somewhat limited. I still have a voice and have used it, signing and sharing petitions, expressing support for peaceful protests, and encouraging other working towards change. But I cannot be among my fellow Americans who are appalled, scared, and desperate to show solidarity. For that, I am sorry.

I applaud everyone in the States taking action now to show that love trumps hate. I promise you that when I am back, I will still be angry and passionate. I will be ready to take my place in this movement because I know we are stronger together.


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