By Joan Lipkin
For the past few days, my phone has been buzzing with calls from devastated volunteers and celebrating friends. In the accelerated world of the blogosphere, writers have begun to rationalize the demographics of the vote and to anticipate the future.
Important new groups like The New Agenda (www.thenewagenda.net) have raised significant concerns about the Obama administration potentially selecting economist Larry Summers, the former president of Harvard as Secretary of Treasury. Summers resigned from Harvard in the wake of a controversy in which he suggested that women received promotion at a lesser rate in the sciences because they were less qualified. Lynette Long (www.lynettelong.com) has started a cabinet watch to encourage Obama to appoint women to 50 percent of the positions.
Wouldn’t that be a great thing and real change?
All of this is good and necessary work. I am grateful that others are doing it because I am just not there yet. I will get there again I am sure but I am not there now.
After months of working to promote Hillary Clinton and fair and open elections, after months of examining the issues and making a conscientious and principled decision to move over to McCain, after months of traveling the country, I am not there yet.
I am exhausted and it is an exhaustion that goes far beyond the physical. It is an exhaustion that permeates my emotional and psychic core. For me, as well as many others, it is tied to the death of a dream.
The dream that we would have a woman president in my life time.
The dream that Hillary Clinton might break from the party, demand justice and a free election and that she would be heard.
The dream that women would act in their best interests.
The dream that men would support women.
The dream that people become journalists because of an aptitude and desire for investigative reporting and passionate commitment to truth.
The dream that the American people would not be seduced by mass media.
The dream that deep friendships would endure over differences of opinion.
The dream that a concern with sexism would share equal space with a concern with racism.
The dream that people would keep their word and that patriotism and honor would prevail.
The dream that if we just worked hard enough, even if we were outspent seven to one and out staffed by far more than that, we would win because we were right.
My dreams have been shattered.
Perhaps they were naïve. But they were real to me and shared by many, many others. Hopefully, some of those dreams can come true in the future. As we can see, there are people and groups who are already working to realize them and they welcome others to join them in these significant efforts.
But I am not there yet. Because with the loss of my dreams, of our dreams, is a kind of death.
And when death comes, one must mourn.
In the Jewish tradition, when there has been a death of the family, one sits Shiva for seven days. The mirrors are draped in black to avoid consideration of appearances and business is suspended. Neighbors, friends and family stop by with trays of food and to talk about the departed loved one because there is no more important business than acknowledging the death of that person, and what was lost as well as what remains.
And so it is with us. Maybe we won’t drill, baby, drill. But we can cry, baby, cry and acknowledge the gut wrenching pain of what it means to have our dreams shattered. And especially how it feels to not be able to openly, joyfully celebrate this breakthrough historic presidency as well as the much anticipated end of the Bush administration because it was not come by honestly.
Ironically, the same technology that helped drive the election for Obama has also been our friend throughout this election season as we write and become allies through our exchanges with people we may never have met.
I encourage people to reach out, to talk and share their feelings in whatever ways they can. Across the blogs and airwaves. On the phone and in person. I encourage them to not skip past this crucial stage of grieving for the loss of our dreams.
For many of us, it is only through going to the rock bottom of our pain that we can make space to empty out and thus, reenergize for our shared battles to come.
Cry, baby, cry.