Compassion

3 years ago by

Compassion

I don’t think at any point I had pictured this could happen. Maybe I watch too many American movies with a happy ending. Last night, Chris and I didn’t know what to do. He was pacing, I was curled under the sheets, unable to sleep but wanting desperately to wake up to a brighter day.

Then I heard Chris in the middle of the night.

That’s it, he won, he said.

In my sleep, my heart ripped apart.

My vision of a progressive world, where women and men are finally equals, where racism is a thing of the past, where people of all color and religion and sexual orientation come together in a respectful way, where we work together to change a world and make it a place of healing, of care and attention for others and for our poor planet, that vision just broke down in million pieces at my feet.

What did people say yesterday?

That they are afraid.

I have a few people in my life that vote for Trump. Or Le Pen, in France. I didn’t chose them to be like that, but they are and I listen to them. They’re not the devil. They’re good people. I swear they’re good people! What they feel is powerless. They feel forgotten. They feel like they’ve given everything for a system that left them lacking, poor, empty.

They’ve been made to believe the answer is force, ejection, walls.

And why had I not imagined this could happen? Because I live behind closed walls too. The walls of my life, of my social media feeds, catered by me for me with the help of crazy algorithms that make it almost impossible to get a wider view of the world, presenting to me a landscape that conforms to my beliefs… But that is an absolute illusion.

And today, it’s time to wake up from the dream.

These people I know, nothing I’ll say will make them change.

There is only one thing to do. Keep loving them. And live and act on my beliefs like I’ve never done before.

If fear prompted that disaster, then let’s not be fearful. Lets stop building walls. Let’s look at each other and not fear the truth. Let’s cultivate hope, care, compassion, and responsibility. Let’s look around us and take each other’s hands. Let’s inspire and forgive.

Let’s hope for an American movie happy ending, soon, soon enough.

48 comments

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  • The American media and people on the coasts do not understand regular Americans, and that is what you saw. You’re right, we are not listened to. Realize that Mr.Trump is a real estate negotiator, and starts out with an unbelievable statement, but then calms it down to something realistic. He pays attention to regular working people, and Mrs. Clinton is woefully out of touch. I believe many who voted for him did so as a vote AGAINST her and the same way of doing things (because it is not working) Visit some other parts of the United States, not the glamorous areas. We are nice people, we aren’t racist devils. I have friends of many backgrounds, What I do not have are wealthy or entitled friends.

  • Bijoux, you said it so well! If the media, Garance included, does not understand you and makes you feel like your vote is “deplorable” or you are a hater and in the minority for voting for Trump, remember that it is rule by the people, not the media, in our country, and the Republicans now control all three branches of government. To that I say hurrah. Choquant, non? I’m a 39 year old white woman, educated, married to a Frenchman and I voted for Trump. True I now live in a state that just flipped red but for ten years I lived in Boston. I feel misunderstood but victorious. I did not want to vote for Trump but I had to vote against Clinton and her scandals and the extension of Obamacare. I did my best withe flawed candidates we had
    I have to add Garance’s admitting qu’elle vit derrières les murs, c’est vraiment bien, merci de le reconnaitre, Garance. Desolee pour le melange des langues, je Lis le blog en francais.

  • I totally agree. I’m shocked by how the media influences and manipulates the people.
    The people pretend to be open and democratic, but they just stick to what is obsolete and outdated. We are not anymore in the 60s, 70, 80s…. The world has changed, the peoples have changed, the stakes have changed!
    In the “no-border” mondialized world, the people need to have reference points: that is, family, education, and what is the most important, the feeling of belonging to its nation. That is the key problem in the US, in France, in Germany (shortly, in all the “open” countries).
    Racism, discrimination… These words are bandied around with very little understanding of what they mean: There are no problems with the africans, moslims, etc., if they stick (or at least, respect) to the values of the country where they are born or where they have chosen (!) to live.
    That is true for America, France…
    In the meantime, the most numerous democracy in the world has pronounced. That is what the people wants. It is an infringement and lack of respect not to accept the people’s will.

  • Just to note: I’m not from the US, but in purely mathematical terms, a majority of Americans voted for Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote. This is not to contest the outcome–you have your Electoral College system and this time it worked in Donald Trump’s favour. But if you’re talking about where the majority of Americans stand on these two candidates, this must be factored in.

    Having said that, Ms. Clinton said it best herself that peace requires that everyone keep an open mind (as Garance so eloquently describes) and give Mr. Trump a chance to lead.

    And having said that, again as Ms. Clinton pointed out, keeping an open mind does not equate to submission. Democracy is a living, changing thing.

  • Cristina Murachco November, 9 2016, 12:05 / Reply

    Je suis le blog il y a longtemps, mais je n’ai jamais fait de commentaires. Cette fois-ci, je voudrais vous dire que votre texte représente tout à fait ce que je pense. Je vis au Brésil, à São Paulo, et nous aussi avons vécu cette année des élections municipales et un coup d’état national qui nous ont relancés dans un passé que nous croyions oublié. Il est temps de regarder autour de soi et de voir ce qui se passe. Et de se rendre compte que les valeurs de tolérance et de démocratie ne sont pas acquises pour tout le monde. Il faut être attentif et ne pas croire que les bulles dans lesquelles nous vivons représentent la réalité des rues. Il faut ressignifier la politique parce que, sinon, il ne nous reste que prier pour qu’un météore arrive le plus vite possible.

  • So, so sad. I feel like a zombie today. Thank you for this post. This is my first comment but I’ve been a long time reader.

  • I have a relative who is a rabid Trump supporter. Salt of the earth guy–great dad, loving husband, hard worker. His job is saving lives. He waited on our parents hand and foot and spent every minute with them as they both died recently. But he has no tolerance for anybody who isn’t like him. Hates the poor. Hates the rich. Hates anybody educated (I think he’s dyslexic, which might be why he has a chip on his shoulder about that). Hates minorities. Hates gays. Hates non-Christians. The list goes on. There is no live and let live. There is only “do nothing to help them and maybe they’ll die and get out of our space.” I don’t understand it. He’s in an echo chamber of false stories about how many people Hillary had murdered and how generous Trump is to charity.

  • My heart hurts. Thank you for your post.

  • Thank you for your thoughtful words. My heart is broken for my country.

  • Racism will never go away. Sexism will never go away because there will always be people who think they are better than. Even if those things did go away, there will always be something else. Not all Americans who voted for him, did so because he is a bigot. Some did so because he is a smart, charismatic businessman. Clinton didn’t even try to appeal to the black vote, however progressive she claims to be. which is partly the reason why she lost, so I think we need to just get a grip. Who knows? We might learn something and perhaps he won’t be as bad as we think. Optimism always helps.

  • Clinton had 88% of the black vote per the NYT; it was in no way part of the reason for her loss.

    The reason for her loss was that she was not a strong enough Democratic candidate with a united following, and in contrast, the uneducated and bigoted masses flocked to Trump instead. I wish optimism was enough, but with the statements Trump and Pence have made, this is a dark day in American history. I hope you’re right and they surprise us all–but Americans who didn’t vote for Trump have every reason to be scared, angry, and frustrated.

  • It was part of the reason for her loss- the inability to engage hispanic and black voters-key groups that would help her gain a win, assuming that by simply being a democrat, they would vote for her. It’s not THE only reason, but it most definitely is one of them.

  • I’m not an American, and I don’t live in the US. But I have followed the elections and I still can’t believe what has happened. It just seems so crazy. But I also didn’t believe in Brexit. Or the governments that are now so powerful in Europe, to be ever elected.
    But today it was too much, just too much. I’m not a hippie, I don’t have rich parents, I studied hard and I have a nice okey job now. I think I’m quite normal in general – or so I thought. Now I feel completely disconnected from reality. Like I live in a bubble. Where are those people, this majority? When did it become ok to be xenophobic, sexist, so hateful? Publicly? Are these the high human standards that we are so proud of in our western countries? Is my vision and my dream of the world so completely weird and uncommon? Do people still have visions and ideas for better future, or is it just about what was taken away from them? But in the meantime the world moves forward, and we have to adapt, we all have. Change jobs if the mines are to be closed, or if people don’t use travel agencies anymore, pay more for scare things that we used to think were so abundant…

    But I don’t agree with you any further here. I think it is time to make us be heared. To stand up for what we believe in, and let us be seen. Say it louder and say it stronger. To unite, but not with fear against something, but with a common inclusive vision for better. Cause people gather much easier and much eager and much stronger against something and with hate for others. It feels like we have been hanging in through better or worse times, we got used to it, that for better or worse, we will manage. I think it’s time for all of us to stand for what we believe in, and express it openly.

    I just have to think about these moments when you are around some ppl that you know are against same sex marriages, and you try to avoid this topic cause you know it’s difficult, etc… And then somebody just says ‘I hate gays’. Openly, bluntly, aggressively.

    But really, where do this all hate come from? I’m so confused today. It feels I know nothing about the world.

  • mosaic_world November, 9 2016, 2:09 / Reply

    today I feel truly sad and depressed and fearful for the future of the country. as a 1.5 generation bi-national (legal and lived here almost half a century) I feel displaced and very insecure about the next four years…

    another thing that I sadly realized is that listening to the speeches during campaigning and the different party national conventions is that the nation is so divided over party ideology that each side sounds like martians to the other side. I hope there are enough people who really make a difference in the capitol who can really listen to the jarble and make sense of the meaning…

    although I voted for Clinton and believe she was the more qualified candidate. I think perhaps not enough people really believed in a female president and perhaps people vote more on charisma and emotion (any emotion) rather than merit. although I don’t associate Trump with charisma either (…) I am grief stricken with how the nation could come to this. I deeply apologize for sad words (as normally I strive for humorous writing) but today this is what feels true.

  • As an American woman, I wanted Bernie Sanders to be the president, and voted for him in the primary. When he lost, I readjusted my expectations and voted for Hillary–a less honorable but perhaps more realistic candidate, or so I thought. When Hillary lost, I realized that the hatred, fear, and bigotry that so many Americans feel is bigger and more powerful than I ever imagined.

    I am from a small town where racism and sexism is the norm. Confederate flags fly everywhere (despite the town being in New York with no Southern affiliation); redneck teens used to chant “White power” in the hallways of my high school. I am no stranger to the rampant cruelty that is at the core of many Americans. But still, I was shocked. Shocked that 59,470,228 (!) fellow Americans picked a man who campaigned with hatred, made anti-female, anti-disabled, and anti-Muslim comments, and made no effort to conceal his disdain and hatred for every person who isn’t a white man. Shocked that a man with no political or military experience has been given the single most important role in our country. Shocked that a man who reduces women–over half the American population–to “pieces of ass” got female votes.

    I’m struggling to get through today because the sadness and anger I feel is overwhelming. My friends in the LGBQT community and my friends of color woke up afraid, and I am afraid for them. I’m afraid for myself, as a woman. I am worried about access to affordable birth control–something Obama made possible–and abortion, should I ever be in a situation to need it. I’m scared that a finger-on-the-trigger xenophobe now has access to nuclear launch codes. I am terrified that an all-Republican government can dismantle all that Obama worked so hard for with ease. And most of all, I am scared to continue living in a place that is so filled with awful, ignorant people. I cannot come to terms with a loved one voting for Trump, as it’s a vote against everything I am and everything I stand for. It is a dark, dark day to be an American, and I fear it will be a dark four years.

    This quote from MLK is the one light: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

  • An eloquent response.

  • Thank you for the post. I slightly, only slightly, feared, there would not be anything on this here, but, thank God (an all loving, compassionate and non-biased force ????) there is this post. Thank you. Ther are so many tHings we take for granted. There are so many things we take as given. Thank you and may we all be reasonable, kind, smart and determined.

  • What Trump is stands antithetical to everything I value. My heart is breaking for America ????????????

  • Thank you for your words, Garance. Very well said.

  • It’s very easy to judge from our skewed perspective. You live in New York and I live in San Francisco – our point of view is not shared by average Americans.
    These people had their properties repossessed by banks, their trade deals taken away from them, their blue collar jobs shipped elsewhere by corporations. They have seen their savings accounts diminish and their children struggle financially, their hope has been stolen.
    The democratic party hasn’t paid attention to them for decades! They even belittle them – tea partisans, bigots, red-necks…
    Can we say we are surprised they voted the way they did?

  • Thank you for saying and understanding this. As Garance has said about France also, the city of Paris is not representative of all of France! And that is quite a small nation in comparison to the size of the U.S.

  • Garance, I am a longtime reader– (started my sophomore year of college, eight or nine years ago now!)–like you, terrified last night and heartbroken this morning. This post is the one thing I’ve read all day that makes me a feel like there is a path forward through everything, a path that is walkable, and not filled with hate and desperation but with action and love. I think it’s brave of you to say something–after all every readership is mixed audience–and I’m so glad you did.

    I always love your posts; please keep doing what you do–bridging perspectives, sharing wisdom, excitement, and insight (and anxiety and goofiness as well!)…pulling down walls.

    -Jane

  • I am Canadian and from Toronto. Torontonians voted for Rob Ford to be our mayor (I personally did not vote for him) from 2010-2014. It was an angry vote, from people who thought they were not being listened and against bureaucracy. It did not work. We became a global laughingstock. The angry vote put us behind instead of moving us forward. Fortunately, in 2014, Torontonians realized who we are and what we wanted to become and voted a mayor who represented all. I hope for the best to my American neighbours, and that your story has a positive narrative. But I did shudder, as Trump is too similar to Rob Ford ( but with much more power) and does not represent the global image we have on the United States. Good luck.

  • katherine November, 10 2016, 8:53

    Gerry .. thank you for that!! <3 And Garance, thank YOU. I applaud your expression. xo

  • Genevieve November, 9 2016, 7:40 / Reply

    Thank you, Garance. I am glad you wrote about the election.

    Paula, I want to address your comment. I live in the Bay Area but I reject your contention that we are not average Americans as well as the notion that the votes for Trump are primarily explained by Trump supporters being economically disadvantaged or ignored by the left. I am the child of two working-class parents, a secretary and a builder. My father has never owned a home, and my mother’s house was foreclosed on in the financial crisis. They would never have used those misfortunes to vote for someone who has espoused the kind of hatred Trump voiced. Never. Never. Never. Furthermore, though I agree that both major political parties have in many ways failed to help the working class, I know that many on the left including myself have been fighting for the rights of people on the margins, including workers whose rights in the workplace are threatened, folks who need a higher minimum wage in order to get by, immigrants who work very hard in this state and whose safety is threatened every day by those seeking to take advantage of an endanger them, people who by virtue of their race are treated unequally by our criminal justice system, and more. We will continue to do this work. The fact that a large group of voters–primarily white voters–can be mobilized by rhetoric filled with hatred toward Latinos, African-Americans, Jews, Muslims, women, and LGBT people is because of a cynical and disgusting effort by the right to use lurking intolerance and fear as leverage to generate votes. In many ways I feel that the economic travails or “loss of hope” Trump voters may or may not have suffered–which, let’s be clear, is and was shared by huge portions of the population that did not vote for Trump–is merely a cover for their refusal to accept that this country is diverse and its riches WILL be shared by a lot of people who haven’t traditionally benefited from them. A bigot is a bigot. Trump is a rich one, and some of his supporters are rich and some are poor and some are in between, but they are all embracing bigotry for which there is just no longer any excuse.

  • So well said. Statements like this are just a thin veneer behind which hateful, frightened people hide. I am working class and always have been; I have felt the same financial struggles and hardships as so many Trump voters. And yet, I did not use those as a feeble excuse to vote with hate. I voted with logic, not anger. Thank you for your thoughtful and intelligent comment.

  • Yes working class whites feel left out of the new economy and some hate having a black president and a browning country, come is economic pain but much of it is racism pure and simple. Yes a dialogue needs to begin between red and blue voters. However Trump is a demagogue and a liar. He does not care about ‘his’ people, he only wanted to win and serve his own ego. He will betray his followers’ trust and he will deliver what he promised. Let us not make a false equivalence between their actions in the past, and between a flawed president and a dangerous one, for that is what is he is. Hopefully 4 years (or less if he gets impeached )will serve to show his followers the lies he has told, and h wont drop any nuclear bombs or start any secret wars in the meantime.

  • We have heavy hearts today at A Summer of Love. No matter how you spin it, this is a step against progress, a step against equality for women and all minorities. This is a step against freedom and love. We represent Freedom, Love, and Women at A Summer of Love.

    http://www.asummeroflove.com

  • Thank you for this.

  • Hi loves – I have been a LONG time fan of Garance, and I am an ardent fashion lover and big fan of the lifestyle and clothes, and ESPECIALLY the strong, visionary, entrepreneurial women represented on this site.

    For those who are feeling the pain of this election – I would love to share with you my latest single. I’m a singer based in Los Angeles. I recently released a cover of the brilliant Leonard Cohen’s ‘Everybody Knows.’

    https://open.spotify.com/track/2pJx3ImHPBtmoMVklbqlhW

    It’s a unfortunate fact as much as we progress, there will always be corruption and those vying for power and opposing forces. We live in a tumultuous time. But I believe, we will continue to progress. Take some time to find causes you can invest time, money, brain power to – to help society continue to progress, even if politicians and citizens want the opposite – we are never safe, even when we win. And yes, there are two sides to everything.

    Please take a minute to check out this track:

    Everybody Knows

    ‘Everybody knows that the war is over
    Everybody knows the good guys lost
    Everybody knows the fight was fixed
    The poor stay poor, the rich get rich, that’s how it goes…
    Everybody knows’

    – Leonard Cohen

    https://open.spotify.com/track/2pJx3ImHPBtmoMVklbqlhW

  • Jane B. Root November, 10 2016, 3:17 / Reply

    C’est nous les femmes qui avons le plus à perdre de ce changement sociétal. C’est pourquoi j’ai beaucoup de mal avec le fait que des femmes puissent voter ça. ça me laisse perplexe.

    Mais cette éléction, et celle qui va inévitablement suivre en France, raconte aussi beaucoup de notre propre tour d’ivoire ceinte de hauts murs. A la construction desquels chacune a participé à sa façon.

    Se remettre en question est la seule solution. La compassion est encore une vision angélique du monde, qui va rejoindre les tracteurs rutilants, l’utopie de la vie à la campagne et les “amazing, so amazing people” ici parqués avec ridicule.

    Se remettre en question. Pas changer de fond en comble. Vendre du rêve est nécessaire aussi.

    Se remettre en question quand on fait l’apologie de vêtements fabriqués dans des usines insalubres qui s’écroulent sur des esclaves pauvres du tiers monde, des femmes essentiellement bien sûr. ça serait déjà un début.

    J’y ai ma part de responsabilité moi aussi. Je ne me dédouane pas.

    Mais moi qui n’ai que des filles, putain j’ai peur pour elles !

    Je ne dis pas “regardons nous sans peur”. Je dis “regardons nous sans concession”.

  • In Australia people were glued to the television as the results unfolded. It is not just an American vision broken, it is a world vision. We are all afraid of the potential for a giant backwards step. It is up to each individual to practice the tolerance, respect and kindness that we hope does not become eroded.

  • I can’t agree with you more: we live behind our own doors. I discovered it with the Brexit. I’d never thought it would happen because the people I follow in social media, the people I know, the books and articles I read… they all have the same opinion and therefore I think almost everyone has that opinion. And those who don’t have it are just a few… But it’s not like that!
    However, I’m amazed by how many people have supported Donald Trump and want him to do what he wants to do…
    I still can’t believe it. Though I still can’t believe Brexit happened to…
    xx,
    E.
    http://www.theslowpace.com

  • Lovely words. Some advice from the UK, where Brexit shocked so many of us… http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-37921356

  • I have not read anything that sums this up better:
    “And why had I not imagined this could happen? Because I live behind closed walls too. The walls of my life, of my social media feeds, catered by me for me with the help of crazy algorithms that make it almost impossible to get a wider view of the world, presenting to me a landscape that conforms to my beliefs… But that is an absolute illusion.”

  • I appreciate a lot your words and I completely agree with you. I am not American and I do not live in USA, but I think this change will affect all our lives and we have to tell our opinion. claudiag

  • Garance, you hit the nail on the head! I agree that these people feel left out, just like many of us do, what I don’t understand is how they actually believe that Trump is listening and will represent their interests. It’s also sad to see hate, ignorance and close mindedness win, even though I understand how that is fostered in this country. But I agree with you that the answer is empathy and compassion to hopefully become an inclusive and open society. You can only win against hate with love!

  • I don’t agree with you at all on continuing to love people who support a hateful, spiteful, thieving, deceitful, misogynistic liar who has the nerve to think he can run a country when he can’t even run a company. People who rally behind him are begin ignorant, uneducated and as childish as he is. He’s not going to fix anything. There is nothing, nothing noble or honorable about him. There are ways to be heard. Supporting donald trump is not one of them. Make no mistake about it. donald trump is a pig.

  • Some people think the same about Hillary, so who’s right?

  • I’m so moved by your response Garance. As long as there is hate and fear in this world there will be prejudice and pain. It is never acceptable to discriminate.

    Each state is made up of individuals and we are all ignored by our representatives if we don’t hold them accountable. Instead many vote party line. If you don’t check occasionally to see how your rep is voting then you can’t assume that they have your best interest. I believe not holding the whole government accountable is what leads to mass frustration and protest votes. It is never healthy to just react. We need to think and act wisely.
    Please lets try to work together and try to eliminate hate prejudice and fear.

    Peace and love. Therese

  • laura parr November, 10 2016, 5:15 / Reply

    Thank you Garance! That is beautifully said, and although I am not even from the US but from neighboring Canada, we have been watching in disbelief… I love that your message brings us back to love, believe the same.

    love laura

  • Madeleine Katz November, 10 2016, 9:53 / Reply

    Thank you Garance. I have never posted on your site before, but what you said is so beautiful and true.

  • Dear Garance,

    I almost felt panic. I live in Europe, and I thought the tone has been set for a new and out of control wave of authoritanirianism, contempt for the others, and times of cruel absurdity.

    This is serious, very serious, and it is time for thinking and acting. As Elizabeth Gilbert wrote the other day: what do I want to be in this situation? We need to be calm, but committed, brave and awake, and we must know we have to fight for rights and freedoms, for respect and love.

    And we must create networks to do it.

    Big hug for everybody there that is feeling this anxiety and this profound unhappiness.

    Carmen

  • I think what has happened in America is what happened in the UK with the Brexit vote-the losing side failed to address people’s concerns instead they just ridiculed the opposition. Unfortunately this no longer works for the voters. I personally was incredibly disappointed in the Brexit vote – I don’t live in the US but I can understand the upset. Hate crimes have risen in the UK since the vote – there is no point denying this we have to address it. Mr Trump like the UK has to come out strongly against it. The reality is the majority regardless of their political affiliations are good people and are horrified when a person is attacked because of their gender, race or sexuality-I don’t count Britain First , the KKK and other hate organisations in this statement as they are just scum. Moving forward we all have to work/live together regardless of political votes.

  • ….Garance & friends’ podcast on plastic surgery now seems to have been prophetic — I fear there will now be a law banning women from aging naturally ???????????? There will be no admiring female arms and biceps (as it may remind of the previous First Lady), but we will be ordered to be only beautiful in Melanie sort of way. Full stop ????????????

  • Je ne suis pas Américaine, je suis française. Mais toute cette histoire nous touche aussi. Je ne comprend toujours pas comment il a pu être élire, tout comme j’ai du mal à comprendre la majorité à avoir voté pour lui. J’ai l’impression que tout ça n’est que temporaire, une blague et que quelqu’un va nous dire que non, ça ne sera pas lui le président des Etats-Unis…

  • Gaëlle Dubar November, 14 2016, 9:20 / Reply

    Je retrouve dans cet article ce que tu décris dans ton post : les “bulles de filtrage” font qu’on vit chacun dans son monde : “un cocon numérique s’est créé autour de nous et il est aujourd’hui très difficile d’en sortir”. “Sur ma planète, la plupart des gens vivent en ville, s’intéressent aux nouvelles technologies, à la science et aux jeux vidéo. Pour beaucoup, ils ont été à l’université ou dans de grandes écoles et on y croise souvent des journalistes, des développeurs, des designers, des professeurs ou des doctorants. Ma planète partage son avis sur des séries, va au cinéma, écoute de la musique contemporaine, rit aux blagues qui me font rire, pleure quand des tragédies me touchent.” Ma planète a voté Hillary. Je n’ai pas voulu voir l’autre planète.

    http://www.numerama.com/tech/207428-bulles-de-filtrage-il-y-a-58-millions-delecteurs-pro-trump-et-je-nen-ai-vu-aucun.html?utm_content=buffer4020f

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