If there’s one thing that would bring me out of the throes of finishing a book called Out of the Giant Hairball: How Regular People Can Create a Whole New World, it’s the election results. I emerge from my writing cave now for the same reasons I went in three years ago:To demonstrate we’re more united and powerful than we think we are, more capable of creating the world we TRULY want than we imagine, and that we can, in fact, do it. Together.The election results are proof we've already started. I know it doesn’t feel that way right now. We’ve just endured the strangest political spectacle any of us has ever experienced. After months of divisive vitriol, hostility, and outright violence, we sit in what seems to be a deeply divided nation nursing the most brutal post-election hangover in American history.
But if we take a deep breath and go beneath the politics of it, we just might see we’re not as divided as it seems. We might see that beneath the differences that had us argue, unfriend friends and relatives, and vote the way we did, is vast and powerful common ground—common ground that can usher in an era of peace, abundance, joy, and freedom for all.
We might even see that through this election, with the help of the most unlikely person on the face of the planet—Donald Trump—we’ve initiated the biggest evolutionary leap humanity has ever made.
Even The Donald wouldn’t say something that crazy, let alone someone who enthusiastically did not vote for him. But, hey, we’re down in the rabbit hole already. Why not go a little deeper? We just might find some gold.
Our WTF MomentLet’s start at the beginning with the obvious. The election was strange. For everyone. I’m not sure there are words to describe just how strange it was. For lack of a better phrase, let’s just use “WTF?” and be done with it.
No matter who you voted for, I think it’s safe to say we’re all shell shocked. We sit together as Americans post-election trying to unpack this collective WTF Moment the best we can.
Political analysts, the media, experienced political reporters, and even the Republican Party are scratching their heads on this one. They’re trying—like we all are—to understand how Donald Trump became the next President of the United States.
From election night interviews, even those who voted for him were surprised. No one seems to know how someone who said what he said, did what he did, and alienated vast swaths of national and global citizenry could have made it to the election, much less the White House.
And yet, he did.
So Much for Status QuoFor being so uncomfortable with uncertainty and change, we sure ordered up a shit-ton of it this time.
In one fell swoop, our tried-and-not-so-true political system turned upside down. Yes, my fellow Americans, “conservative” voters just voted for radical change and “liberal” voters voted for the status quo.
In this topsy-turvy election, We, the People, were given a binary choice between “the establishment” and the “anti-establishment.” With Clinton as a Washington insider for over three decades and Trump gaming said establishment for personal profit at least as long, it’s easy to see how we were seduced into these two camps.
Ironically, the “establishment” candidate was a woman, which after 227 years of male predecessors, is about as anti-establishment as it gets. And the anti-establishment candidate was as a white, wealthy male from a trust fund upbringing, which puts him squarely inside the establishment.
Unfortunately, we allowed ourselves to divide along these lines, not realizing we were getting the establishment no matter who we voted for, and forgetting that United We Stand, Divided We Fall.
We may not have felt a career public servant, wife, and mother raised in a blue collar family could genuinely represent us regular folks, but we ended up choosing a born millionaire with 40 homes and gold-plated plumbing.
As someone with blue collars in my family tree as far as the eye can see, I couldn’t imagine anyone else with so little understanding about what life in the real world is like than someone who’s never lived in it.
So, there I sat on election night fully expecting we’d pick Hillary. Sure, she’s flawed—like all of us. But I truly believed that despite our differences, we’d pick someone with experience and was, you know, not a lunatic.
But we didn’t. And it might just be the healing we need. May it be so.
We Really Are All in this TogetherI ask you: If Hillary Clinton had been elected, would we have learned that conservative Republican voters share the same dissatisfaction with the existing system that progressives, independents, and marginalized populations have been have been expressing for decades now?
Would we have learned that many white males also feel powerless and oppressed by the system they themselves created? Who knew those who made the laws, wrote the history books, had the right to vote, and led the country for its entire 240-year history now feel entrapped by it?
Who knew they, too, feel unheard and left behind?
The question now is, can those who’ve been marginalized and oppressed for hundreds—even thousands—of years have compassion for those who now feel it for the first time? And, can those feeling it for the first time empathize with those who’ve experienced it throughout history?
Thanks to Donald Trump, we learned it’s possible that none of us feel represented by our existing political system. Despite our differences, it may very well be we’re in violent agreement that it no longer works for any of us.
The Void Between Worlds
Whether we knew that’s what we were doing or not, we’ve now used the power of democracy to pretty much blow up the system we’ve been using so far to support it. With no alternative in place, we now sit in the void between worlds with nothing but unknown territory ahead of us.
With Donald Trump at the helm.
Clearly, we’re not as fearful of uncertainty and change as we thought.
Had we made the choice for Hillary Clinton or any other candidate from the larger primary pool, we might have navigated more gently through the changes we face. Instead, we made the bold decision to go from one extreme to the other—from an embedded, entrenched, dysfunctional establishment to the unhinged, frenetic whirligig of NeverNeverLand, where all bets are off.
On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump lays his hand on the Bible and becomes an official part of the “establishment” he has so adamantly opposed. We can only hope he finds the courage and integrity to transform the very system he and other wealthy elites have been gaming for personal profit at the expense of those who elected him. Based on his track record with hired business associates, it’s not looking good. But there’s always hope.
As Commander-in-Chief with the power of our military at his disposal, Trump holds our survival and the survival of the human species in his hands. Now that we’ve placed him in a position of great power, we can only hope he doesn’t kill us with it. “You’re fired!” is great for reality TV, but not when it involves the nuclear codes.
The good news is that by law, President Trump must work within the rules set forth by the Constitution—with all the checks, balances, processes, and procedures. Will he comply? Or, given his temperament and history, will he attempt to unilaterally dictate rules of his own creation? And what will his Cabinet and we, as citizens, do if he does?
Will we say, “Sure, boss?” Or will we say, “Bite me?”
These are not rhetorical questions. We may have elected a President, but as always, We, the People have the power.
From this precarious position of uncertainty, our world will become what we create it to be. Together. With every demographic group in the land feeling unrepresented by the only system we’ve ever known, we’ll have to create a fundamentally new one. We’ll have to do it in a fundamentally new way, in a fundamentally new space, on our way to a fundamentally new reality.
Hence, my forthcoming book. But that’s a story for another day.
Navigating the Road AheadRight now, with so much in flux, let’s just please remember that our voting choices—believe it or not—reflect our unity much more than they reflect our division. Let’s remember we’re all united at the core of our common humanity with rights endowed by our Creator—not our President—to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
As we navigate our way through these next months and years, let’s consider the possibility that our societal systems are failing us not because we’re devolving, but because we’ve evolved past what they were designed for.
What we said with our frustration, with our votes, and with this radical choice for change is that it’s time for our next evolution. It’s going to be a wild ride, but if we remember that the only way we can create the world we TRULY want—one that’s economically viable, ecologically flourishing, naturally sustainable, wholly fulfilling, and truly just for everyone—is to unite at the core of our common humanity, where all of us are created equal. If we do that, we’ll be just fine.
Nancy Polend is the Founder of Creating the New World, Inc., creator of the Architecture for Creating Our New World ™, author, speaker, and regular gal. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org