By John Sorensen
I went to bed late Tuesday night, Nov. 8, with a sinking feeling, hearing that Pennsylvania had just been called for Trump. Next morning, with confirmation of the Trump victory, I was stunned and deeply horrified—all the good work we had done in the last several years getting our country on the path towards lowering our carbon footprint could now be wiped out with a few strokes of a pen.
But what has bothered me more was the now-strong possibility that we could revert to being a nation that doesn’t respect women. That is, our society could morph into one where misogyny becomes the acceptable norm.
I have two granddaughters, and I shudder for them with this thought. I grew up in that kind of home with my Mom taking the brunt of that attitude. In the Fifties, the double standard was the rule of the day. I’ve had to work through a lot of acceptance and shame about being a product of that culture, and I’ve become very sensitive and critical of “womanizers” as a result.
A person’s character and morals matter! We want our leaders to be examples of goodness along with their competence—at least I do. We’ll soon have a ruthless, dictatorial, misogynist bully (classic negative 8 on the enneagram chart). What were we Americans thinking? What the hell is going on?
I go in and out of anger about this. Thomas Moore approvingly writes, “Anger is primal, instinctive, protective and healing!. . . Remember how we have been misunderstood, violated, offended, taken advantage of. That primal anger is useful now. Don’t undervalue it. Let it influence how we behave; let it teach us.” I’ll harness this anger, for with it comes steadfastness and resolve.
I’m also bewildered about why we’re in this predicament, particularly about why Iowa, my state of origin, voted in favor of Trump. There is only 3.8% unemployment in Iowa. It is not an out-of-work, rust-belt state. 28% of Iowans are Evangelical Christians, meaning that the Bible is the highest authority for what they believe and act upon. I don’t think the Bible says it’s OK to be a misogynist bully. Yet they voted overwhelmingly for Trump! How can this be? I must find out. We must understand each other if we’re going to get along, build common ground bridges, and work for a better society.
In the Kubler-Ross five stages of grief model (Denial-Anger-Depression-Bargaining-Acceptance)—with my anger—I’m still at stage two. But the anger I feel gives me the resolve to pass through whatever it takes to get to true acceptance. Then, I’ll get on with doing the work we’ve been doing but with a more urgent motivation. I’ll keep granddaughters Annika and Alle in mind, and look for positive advice along the way….
Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better
John Sorensen is CEN’s coordinating director. As a youth, he heard the aerospace call and followed it for 45 years of engineering design and entrepreneurial experiences. Twelve years ago John heard another, deeper calling—time to re-invent and dedicate himself to humanitarian service. He uses earlier experiences to fulfill that calling as an elder strategist for social and environmental justice.