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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Morning After

Whoa! Night came on early!

While I have no plans either to flee my country or to give in to despair, last night was long and hard, and this morning was no easier. My heart is too full today to post much, if anything, in the way of original thought. I do have one small idea that feels positive and citizenship- and life-affirming to me, and I am trying it out on a few friends, one at a time, to see if there might be the energy and willingness to get it together, but that is a tender, fledgling thought, too tentative to put out into the sometimes harsh light of the Internet. Maybe sometime in the future, but not now.

Instead I will quote (assuming their kind permission) from today’s “Shelf Awareness” newsletter, since the words there give voice to the booklover (and bookseller) aspect of my feelings today, here in my little northern Michigan bookshop:

Many of us here at Shelf Awareness are in shock at the election results, in part because polls and predictions were so far off. We're also wary of the rhetoric of the winning campaign, which too often has been inflammatory and not exactly fact-based. 
Much of the book world supported the losing side. And while it's difficult to take in the results of the election, it's important to remember that in the turbulent days and years ahead, books will remain a key part of public discourse and provide so much of the information that is part of--or should be part of--discussions of the issues and constitute the basis of momentous decisions and laws. Books are also a great source of perspective, understanding, solace and, when needed, escape.

Perspective and understanding, please note, not only solace and escape. It is very important that we Americans find our way forward from here as a nation, helping each other to create a path characterized by kindness and grace. Let us find the books to help us do that, shall we?

Tuesday evening orchard and sunset


BB-Idaho said...

As the shock wears off, we ponder that the last two Republican presidents lost the popular vote and took that as a mandate. Our
nation is the big clumsy giant on the world stage. An unpredictable
giant. So, I share a bit of correspondence from my wife's cousin
in Switzerland:
"Thanks for all your comments, I feel so close to you. We're completely sharing feelings right now. The whole thing is making me really upset and ..... (Bob names the synonyms, thanks for the vocab, I could contribute with e.g. dumbfounded, flabbergasted?, or: it scares the s*** out of me (sorry, foul language, but who cares in these days!!!)).

The New Yorker's article is great, it just goes to the heart of the problem: if even well educated people fall for demagoges, anything can happen! Look back a hundred years ago....!"
--Little Switzerland is a very socially conscious, well ordered place that has seen two World Wars inflame its borders. I feel sorry that THEY feel sorry for us!

P. J. Grath said...

Thank you, BB. Here's part of an e-mail I got this morning from the Fearless Leader of our intrepid Ulysses Reading Circle:

I've been thinking of these last lines of Swanns Way in these times of political change:

"The reality that I had known no longer existed. It sufficed that Mme. Swann did not appear, in the same attire and at the same moment, for the whole avenue to be altered. The places that we have known belong now only to the little world of space on which we map them for our own convenience. None of them was ever more than a thin slice, held between the contiguous impressions that composed our life at that time; remembrance of a particular form is but regret for a particular moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years."

Deborah said...

Day two of post-election shock feels no better than yesterday. For some reason these words from poet Edna St. Vincent Millay are with me:

Life must go on, though good men die. Life must go on; I forget just why.

It isn't especially appropriate now at all but it is just that sometimes I remind myself that life must go on. Pick up your feet Deborah, one foot in front of the other. Surely in the future there will be ways in which we can all help one another be the best that we can.

P. J. Grath said...

I understand, Deborah. I've had that feeling more than once in my life (as you know). As for feeling it in the face of political defeat, here's another perspective, the link sent to me by a friend: