It’s been two weeks since the election, and all is right in the world.
Okay, so that isn’t remotely true with Israel once again bombing Gaza in a stunning display of the imbalance of their military might. Even in the midst of all the injustice, death and destruction that continues, we can nurture the tiniest seeds of change planted for a better world.
For the duration of this election season, I worked on MindfulVotes, a campaign which the values of made holding a nonpartisan stance essential. As a result, I’ve been much less vocal about the presidential candidates than I generally would have been. Now liberated from those constraints, I want to share the desperate concerns I held personally, as what was at stake this election season unfolded.
Given the platform presented, (though open to a vexing re-visioning that made clarity a negotiable concept,) a Romney-Ryan White House could have been devastating for me at three of the most profound levels of humanity: safety, wellness and love.
The unconscionable positions taken by Republican candidates, including Paul Ryan, about rape raised the specter of being raped and the ensuing outcomes for the first time in my life. Perhaps this is wrong and I should have considered it more deeply prior to this given the statistics on rape as well as the number of women personally known to me that have endured this most invasive of crimes. This year, I came to feel viscerally unsafe and exposed by misogyny passed off as religious belief.
Rape is always a crime against humanity. Everyone’s. Women and Men. Past, present and future. We should never forget this nor curry anything less than an immediate, forceful and unrelenting response to those who would suggest otherwise. If Willard Had Won, the government sworn to protect me and my country, would not have agreed.
Long ago, I took my personal wellness to account, holding the belief that wise practices would shield me from the health challenges of my family. But yoga, exercise, meditation and a healthy diet couldn’t dodge the bullet of genetics. An at-times debilitating and recurring illness cast me into the pre-existing condition black hole of care.
For the past three years, I’ve had only the Hope of 2014 and its Affordable Care Act to cling to as a respite from the insult of insurance industry practices added to my unwanted injury. If Willard Had Won, I would have no guarantee that securing the health of its citizens matters in my own land.
It’s been just over fifteen years since I was interviewed in OUT Magazine with my then-partner on the increasingly public conversation about so-called Gay Marriage (thanks strategists, for de-marginalizing the issue to address what it is: Marriage Equality). Though I took the possibility in stride at the time, the truth of it coming to fruition in my home state of New York alongside eight others, has yet to sink in. If Willard Had Won, the door of possibility that has been opened to celebrate my love and commitment for whomever I choose—and have my government honor it—would have been slammed shut before I could walk through.
I’ve long defined these fundamental rights: safety, security and self-determination—The Three S’s—as the cornerstones of social justice. But If Willard Had Won, in very real and concrete ways for legions of people, not to mention my very own self, there would be none.
So…Good Riddance, Willard “Mitt” Romney. With all due respect to the honorable, well-meaning, and differently-viewed folks that supported you, I celebrate your well-deserved and unspectacular defeat. Better you descend quickly into national impotence where your classist, racist, old-world cardboard cutout personality and policies can not send us hurling back four decades. Instead, the future of Change is now, and is ours—left, right and center, alike—to behold and forge together.
May your Mittens forever stay off Big Bird and every other government-supported program that brings forth joy, alleviates suffering and gives Hope and Change a real—even if slow-to-come—chance. May you find true fulfillment for the apparent emptiness that wreaks havoc on Truth and casts Integrity to the winds. May your lasting legacy be the Wake Up call some in the Republican party seem to be hearing: that a party driven by seeking to protect only the privileges of rich white men and those who want to become or serve them, is a party no one else wants to come to.
—yours in truth, aKw
angel Kyodo williams, the “change angel,” is Founder Emeritus of Center for Transformative Change. She now serves as a Senior Fellow and Director of Vision. A social visionary and leading voice for transformative social change, she is the author of the critically-acclaimed Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace.
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