The last three weeks have been some of the politically hardest of my adult life. I feel challenged, as a writer and a teacher, to show up and participate in the current political realities of our country. And I find myself wanting to shut my computer, turn off the radio, and turn away from the suffering that is increasing on every front in my country.
I'm busy and tired by the end of every single day. I run a private school (not the more politically correct public) centered on Integral, mindful education; I'm finishing a novel and raising two boys who both need reminders that the world is a loving, giving place--a place where they will be able to find their own way in the coming years--which is a promise that world is increasingly unable to keep.
I have more education and more responsibility than my parents did, but less income and benefits. I have no pension or retirement and have worked only in the small business community. I have an auto-immune condition, which kept me from having healthcare until the Affordable Care Act passed, and I was forced to go bankrupt during the last recession after an employee embezzled over 90k from the business at which I worked. I've been a die-hard Southern Democrat since birth, although not a Blue Democrat. And I've grown increasingly Progressive as I've watched my generation (Generation X) fail to thrive in the modern marketplace.
After Bernie Sander's run came to an end, I voted for Hillary because I was excited to have a woman in the White House, and I appreciated, as only a female executive can, what it's like to bide one's time and wait for the big, well-earned opportunity. But the day after Trump was elected, I woke up to a new reality. I could no longer stand back, vote once a year, and watch the political landscape unfold as I struggled to pay bills and provide quality food and opportunities for myself and my children. If I had a good job, and this daily, weekly, monthly struggle was my reality, I was forced to ask myself: what was the reality for those who were working minimum wage jobs or worse, the migrants, mentally ill, poor, and homeless in our communities?
And the answer was: for many Americans, their reality was much worse than my own. And Trump's America endangers more of us every day: immigrants, children enrolled in public education, those in the scientific community, black communities, Jewish, Muslim, to name a few. I could no longer afford to hang onto the story that I was telling myself and my children: that America was a loving, just place; that they would have opportunities I did not; that racism, discrimination, and inequity was a thing of the past. Suddenly, my citizenship required much more of me. Suddenly, I needed to be engaged. And I'm answering the call.
In this Brave New World, I'm learning how to show up.
I invite you to do the same.
Coranna Adams is a writer, filmmaker, and educator from Asheville, North Carolina.