From the swamp of devastation, my pledge

On Election Day morning (yesterday, as I write this), I walked through a crisp, sunny NYC, with a skip in my step. We were voting in the first woman President!!


Tuesday morning. Today, not so much.

A homeless man on my street, pushing his shopping cart past me, shouted out and showed me his Hillary t-shirt with a big smile. On the subway platform, I spontaneously sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in four-part harmony with three older black men when they wrapped up their busking on the train. I asked Mai, the woman with the flower stand on Hudson Street, and popped in to ask Jenny, who studied for her US citizenship while running her nail salon, if they were voting. Yes! they said. I didn’t think I needed to ask for who, and as Chinese immigrants with children, I assumed it was Hillary.

And then last night happened. I had about ten friends over, to eat homemade vegetable soup, watch the returns, and cheer our candidate with champagne. My friends left around 2 a.m.; the champagne bottles are still in my fridge.

As a woman, I’m devastated. As an environmentalist, I’m devastated. As a compassionate human, I’m devastated. I can’t imagine what it’s like today for my gay friends (we not only got Trump, but also Pence), and my friends of color.

For a while now, I have been seeking a way to have a positive impact on this world. Every day I struggle to find the strength to trust that I can, and to figure out how to use my specific gifts to do it. To surmount the negative beliefs that I have about myself, ingrained so long ago, that freeze me up. I’m a few months away from finishing a Certificate Program in Environmental Sustainability at Columbia University, and from somehow translating my learnings into helping to make the future sustainable for the 7.4 billion living, breathing people on this planet. I now feel even more . . . hopeless? Crippled? I can’t find the right word, but I don’t have enough tissues to catch my tears.

Hillary and Bill wore mourning colors for her concession speech this morning. Today I cry. And through my tears, I will try to embrace what Hillary quoted in her speech:

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

I vow to make the personal mission I stated up above into my main priority. I hope you will encourage me on the days that I think I can’t.

By the way, this blog is part of that mission. One way you can support me is simply to follow it, which you can do below. Also, comments are always welcome. Meanwhile I leave you for today with this spartan but incredibly moving (at least for me) video from the American Natural History Museum, reminding us of the very big picture:


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4 thoughts on “From the swamp of devastation, my pledge

  1. Jane Creech

    Great post Deb. I too felt so elated on Tuesday and such despair on Wednesday. I’m asking myself, Did I do enough to help Hillary? Love the video. It reaffirms how we all came from the same place and are basically immigrants.


  2. Michael Levine

    Hi Deb, thanks for your post , and your commitment. Oh, yeah, the humor, too! I laughed and then I cried. Still am. I relate a lot. I remember when my family went to the World’s Fair in Queens in 1964?, I think it was, there was a huge bill board like sign made up of the latest technology, which meant digital numbers. that kept reading out the world’s population as it the actual population was growing….IN REAL TIME. I recall just being stunned, fascinated and scared shitless at that reality. 1964!!! I was 15 years old and my mind was spinning and overloaded by the prospect of our world into the future. Fast forward to the first EARTH DAY, 1970. Masses of us marching in peace through Manhattan with huge hope and joy. Real hope that a change would occur. Lights were turned down, fountains shut off, and the auto industry pledged (were required by law) to devise engines that used less gas. All that lasted for what seemed, 5 minutes. I’ve been reading a lot of New Yorker articles lately about all the places around the world where the climate change is the most evident. (as if it wasn’t obvious enough for the past 30 years.) This past 2 years of listening to this election come charging toward us, it’s outcome, and the outcome’s inevitable effects, is heart breaking and beyond discouraging. Like you are doing, I am also doing what little I can, to heal just a little bit of my part of the planet with the tools that I have, with the heart that my parents gave me. Perhaps everything, and everyone must hit it’s bottom to realize that recovery is desirable and sustainable. I hate to say it but, some recover, and some die a slow, suffering death. We are tiny creatures, specs in a universe so vast and complex, and each of us, each of our moves and actions determines our collective fate. Can we turn this thing around? I don’t know, but your post today has given me the motivation that I need each day that I do some service at the prison.
    ( I was marching up 6 th ave. during the RNC convention (GW Bush’s 2nd time around) with Nancy. Lots of singing and chanting going on all day as the massive throngs tromped and swayed through the canyons of corporate structures, arm in arm, spirit and spirit. As a certain voice singing behind me became clearer, I realized that it was a voice I’d heard my entire life….you know, like Dylan, or the Beatles. I turned around and saw Pete Seeger and his wife, right over my shoulder, he strumming his banjo and singing out with a vitality and commitment that was indefatigable. That recollection gives me strength also.)


    1. Deb

      Wow, Michael, thank you SO much for sharing all that. The volunteer work you’re doing is AMAZING. And your story about the march on the RNC reminds me of marching for Climate Change with you and Nancy. Keep the comments coming, and thanks for your support!!! xo


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