Depressed Beyond Reason

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’m traumatized to the point of tears by the election results and the aftermath. I
am your basic knee-jerk liberal and had such pride and hope for America for the
past eight years. But the eruption of swastikas from NYC to Oregon, and vile
anti- brown, black, Asian, Hispanic, gay, and Jewish incidents make me feel
unsafe in my own country. There is a difference between electoral politics and
outright oppression. And a campaign that said it would “clean up the mess” is
appointing only bigoted insiders and doing nothing to allay the eruption of hateful
racist bile. And why is no one talking about the Russians? My office place has
many pro-Trump people and many people of color. I don’t know if we will witness
anything like what I am seeing in the news, but how can I speak out when I feel
so unsafe?

Depressed Beyond Reason

Dear Depressed:

All the reasons you cite are very legitimate and reasonable responses to the
post-election eruption of ugliness. No one who is a caring compassionate
person–of any religion—would be reacting with anything but horror. I can’t
address the political aspects of your concerns, but I can help a little with the
sense of fear and isolation. I don’t know if you are aware of the safety pin
campaign or not. People who wear a safety pin are showing others they are
willing to stand up if they see racist baiting or bullying going on around them. It’s
an act of affirmation but it also requires that you actually speak up, which could
make you even more afraid and uncomfortable, so don’t wear one unless you are
more secure and ready.

There are also support groups springing up everywhere to help people deal both
with grieving and eventually with political organizing to reverse the one-party
control of every branch of government. Support politicians who represent the
values you care about. Do it by donating time, money, and energy as well as
words and tears. Be prepared for a long haul on this process. That’s the good
news as well as the bad. It is especially important that you keep an open
dialogue with all the people you know. Keep your relations at work broad and
sincere. Be kind to the people you fear with be harassed and be brave about
speaking up if you see something happening that is inappropriate. You might
preemptively talk to your human resources folks to learn what is okay and not, so
that you can cite policies if needed. Somehow we are all going to have to learn to
talk to people we disagree with if we are going to re-establish dialogue. But take
the time for tears and grieving first. It will make you stronger and you will need
that strength, as will we all.