I’ve been putting this post off for days. First it was because I wanted to take some time after getting back from this trip. Then, it was because I was getting ready to go on a work trip and was preparing for that. Then, it was because Trump was elected our new president and I couldn’t deal with it. THEN, my cat laid down on my stomach and I knew that if I moved to get my computer she would freak out and run away.
Imagine me exhaling loudly right about now. I don’t know where to start here. I feel like I’ve been living in bizarro world for a few days, waiting for it to end or for me to wake up. I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised, and if this trip we took taught me anything, that should be it. Southern Missouri was riddled with Trump signs, which gave me one giant clue as to how that area truly felt. But I wanted to believe that our entire country didn’t feel the same.
When the news became official, I was in Boston for a work conference. Leading up to the trip, I was so excited to be there during the election announcement because Boston is a blue city, with a strong, historical foundation and watching something so important unfold felt a little more special there. That excitement quickly turned to worry, which quickly turned to upset, and honestly, devastation. The SNL skit with Dave Chapelle captures it pretty accurately.
I think I mainly feel devastation because I see this as a huge step backwards for our country. We worked so hard these past 8 years (work that is not completed) to build us up, to break down social and economic barriers, and it’s only been a few days but I can already see that those efforts don’t even matter anymore. I’m sad that this is the way my country feels. I’m sad that I know some of the people that voted for this and I have known them to be good people. I’m sad and scared for my gay friends, myself and other women. I’ve never before felt like I was personally at risk, which gives me just a small glimpse into what minorities, people of color, homosexuals, trans and people with disabilities and sickness must feel all the time. It’s sobering, which I hope can lead to some sort of growth for us.
As I continue to watch in horror as openly racist, anti-semitic and sexist individuals find a place in extreme power under Trump’s jurisdiction (all facts, not leftist “opinion”), I try to take some solace in our world’s physical beauty. It seems unrelenting, ongoing and determined, no matter what the people of its region think, who’s side they’re on and whether or not they want to build a wall to keep people out. It helps me understand that refusing to just “hope for the best”, which I find lazy, hypocritical and complacent, isn’t me being difficult. Rather, it’s understanding that we can do better and we didn’t live up to that. This whole world, which we are extremely lucky to have, should teach us all that we can do better and we should do better. This entire thing is bigger than us, than our personal agendas, than our own individual futures. We are nothing if we aren’t in this together, working to improve the wellbeing of everyone and the world’s ecosystem.
I will never be able to understand the “me verses everyone else” mentality. I don’t want to, because for me, that breeds hate, misunderstanding and the refusal to accept the fact that in the end, you don’t matter. We do.
So, here are some pictures I took of our mini road trip through southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Such a juxtaposition of feelings the entire time, beauty among what I perceived as signs of hate. These pictures only focus on the prior.
Eureka Springs was truly wonderful. I’d go back any time.
The view of Kansas City from the World War I Museum.
In Sedalia, we stayed at Hotel Bothwell. Very old and very cool.
We ended our trip at Meremec Caverns, which Nate had never been to.