Susan J. Demas: So What Do We Do Now?

  Susan J. Demas, 2016

Susan J. Demas, 2016

I am not the optimist in my family. That role is filled by my husband, Joe. All of us are devastated right now, but his mantra has always been, "Time to get back to work." We're both doing this, though without many smiles. When he starts singing Christmas carols around the house, I know it will be OK.

We've been hugging our kids a lot. Our 13-year-old said yesterday morning, "I've lost all faith in humanity. Are women going to lose their rights?" He then tried to comfort Joe and cracked jokes. Our 14-year-old is busy organizing against harassment of LGBT and minority students at her school. They are good eggs. They fight for others while we fight for their future. 

I am not a maudlin hippie. But here is how I truly feel right now. Be kind to one another. Try to bring some light into the world. Stop punching down. Stop trying to prove you're the smartest person in the room. And definitely stop tearing each other down to fight through your own pain. I have been guilty of all of these things too many times.

It accomplishes nothing right now. It's self-defeating. It emboldens those who seek to do us harm. We all just need to take a breath and feel. And if anyone wants to mock me for saying this, so be it. I'll have been called worse.

This is the fight of our lives. As conservative David Frum said, democracy itself is likely on the line. Take care of yourself. Take care of your family. Take care of one another.