I wasn’t raised very religious, so I don’t know exactly what it means to have a crisis of faith. I always pictured something like a complete disconnect between everything you had been raised to believe and everything you were now experiencing. Maybe that’s wrong, but in my head, I viewed a crisis of faith as something that made it seriously difficult, if not impossible, to continue forward in your faith the way you did before.
After the past several days, however, I can at least start to imagine a little better what that might look like, because I’m having a crisis of country. Since the results of the election were announced last Tuesday, I’ve done very little. I’ve been cruising social media a lot more than I did before, I’ve been sleeping a lot, I haven’t been working out a ton and I haven’t been very productive.
In fact, it’s sort of taking everything I have even to just write this short blog post.
I’ve never seen as much hate and sheer stupidity in my life as I have in just the past six days. People whose opinions I once really respected, people who I thought of as intelligent human beings, people who I thought had an ounce of compassion within them, have been revealing themselves left and right as hateful, idiotic Trump supporters.
Add to that the incredible amount of individuals I see posting on social media about the protests, saying “this is what happens when you give trophies for participation” – I’m stunned. I’m stunned I’ve been spending my time and energy with so many people that either don’t get it or are actively trying not to.
The truth is, it didn’t feel right to me to just go back to posting about travel and gallivanting around the world, as though something huge and history-making hadn’t just happened in the country I call home. Now, the posts and articles I’m seeing are changing from just sheer shock and anger to “do something” posts – informative articles about how those of us that were unhappy with the results of the election can begin to make a real difference by getting more involved.
While I appreciate that there are so many people ready to get to work in this country, I honestly don’t know if it will matter.
For a while, in the days after the election, I was really angry. That anger hasn’t gone anywhere – in fact, it’s probably gotten worse each time I delete someone from my online world that I thought was a decent human being – but it does have an added helping of sadness with it, now.
I plan to attend some of the protests and I plan to place calls to my representatives. And I plan to do whatever else I can, while I’m here. And I plan to do as much as I can while I’m abroad. But that’s the important part: I’m still planning on leaving for my travels. And now, more than ever, I really don’t want to come back.
So that’s my crisis of country. I’m sure really soon The LITMO Life will go back to being about the joyful side of travel, but for the past few days, it hasn’t felt right. I want to do the work to make the country I’ve called home my entire life a better place – from afar. Because I don’t want to live in it anymore.
Maybe that’s unpatriotic, or maybe it’s just self-care. When you get burned out from a job, you’re told to take some time off, nurture yourself, and find your center. Maybe leaving the country is just that for me, and I’ll find in a few months that I miss it and want to come home. Or maybe I’ll realize that this wasn’t the place for me from the beginning. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t believe in blind loyalty to anything.
The only thing I do believe in, however, is trying to make the world a better place for the people that are still in it. So I’ll do the work – but it won’t be from within the borders of the country.
No part of me feels a desire to stay in this country that is filled with hateful, idiotic Trump supporters. People that can’t understand the basic logic of “supporting a racist means supporting racism.” Or people that can look me in the eye and tell me their views on Trump’s “policies” of the economy were more important to them than standing up for women and minorities.
So back to the title of this blog post – how do you deal with a crisis of country? I have no idea.
Featured Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr