Thank you to all of you who have written to me over the past week since the election, asking how I’m doing and what I’m thinking about.
Of course, I had wanted to write something earlier, but couldn’t find the words.
I have lots of fleeting thoughts, ideas, positions – but grief has a way of taking the sticking power out of them, and maybe of taking away my trust in them, too.
What I do know is this: a long time ago I began doing this work because I saw again and again how the most ethical, kind, wise people on the planet were being kept from formal roles of power.
Without that power, they could not make the decisions that would lead our world forward.
At the same time, I saw how, at worst, those who did hold power were often the most wounded, reckless and greedy among us. At best, they were often just the most overconfident or those who best fit the stereotype of what a leader (read: patriarch) looked like.
The consequences of this are infinite, and tragic.
The profound misalignment – of who gets to lead versus who holds wisdom – is something we will all be dealing with now at a whole new level.
Over the years that come, yes, we can work to change the composition of who wields institutional power.
That means altering all kinds of things – from how people decide to pursue a formal position of power, to who votes, to the images – conscious and unconscious – that we all hold of what a leader looks like. We can each find our niches within this larger cause of changing who comes to hold formal power.
But, when we can’t change it, or perhaps more precisely, while we work at the long-game of changing it, we can relentlessly commit acts of goodness and love outside roles of institutional power.
This has certainly long been women’s way of bringing light into the world. It has long been the way that marginalized people have brought light into the world, and sustained their families and communities.
So rest assured, you know how to do this. It’s in your DNA.
We will not give up the fight to diversify who holds formal roles of power.
And even as we cope with heartbreaking retrenchment on that long path forward, remember that every cell in your body knows how to love and weave good deeds, to meet injustice with acts of service and everyday rebellion, right there with the people in front of you.
Let’s stay connected to love and to each other.
photo credit: Zoran Kokanovic