Sometimes the world is so dark, I can’t see the light. I will see stories about racism, bombings, guns, animal abuse and senseless killings. The idealistic 20-something that I can be – the one who feels that a powerful story can impact change – feels like she could crumble. I haven’t wanted to write about Trump and his impending presidency or demented politics both out of denial and avoidance. But with his inauguration just hours away and this being the last day of Obama’s presidency, I guess you can say the moment of reckoning has arrived.
I could sit here and wax poetic about how my past travels have shown me that people – no matter their ethnicity, education or country – are all inherently the same. How we are all bounded by the same emotions, fears, worries and hopes. I can sit here and speak to the effects of global warming that I have witnessed first hand – from disappearing glaciers in Iceland to droughts in Indonesia. I could tell you tell you that travel would open up Trump’s eyes if he dared step beyond his lap of luxury to meet the religions, cultures and people he carelessly insults. All of this is true but does it change tomorrow’s inauguration? Unfortunately, no.
This is not an uplifting post, nor should it be. I am downright sad about Trump’s presidency, sad for the open cruelty I see seeping into everyday life like water through cracks. For the politics that have shown the worst in people. There are days when I am in awe of the good in this world – of the grace and resilience shown by others – and then there are days when it seems as though the villains always have the upper hand.
Rather than crumble in the face of a Trump presidency, I choose to remember tonight the good in the world and the inspiring president we have been lucky to have for eight years. All I can do is this: continue to live my life, to write, to travel and to choose love over hate and fear. All any of us can do is realize that a leader doesn’t always define a country.
Last night, I keep thinking of the phrase “chasing life.” I had just watched the latest Samantha Bee news program, where a rather unfunny woman predicted a doomsday future under Trump that included nuclear warfare and a ruined environment. I then thought of my upcoming trip to Asia, of the beauty I will inevitably see, of the people I will meet. I will chase life. I will put myself in the way of beauty.
For all the hate that Trump perpetuates, I will lose myself to love, kindness and the good in the world – no matter how far I have to travel to find it. That’s what a Trump presidency means to me.