I have been back in America for a few days now.
I watched this election happen from a hotel room alone in Bogotá, Colombia. I’m not surprised by the outcome, but that doesn’t make me less sad. It doesn’t make me less angry.
I cried a lot. A whole lot. But I am not writing to tell you about my tears. Who cares? They do nothing if they don’t motivate me to do more than just cry. My grief as a white woman is pretty damn shallow if it ends at grief.
My community assures me that we have to love harder. That love is the answer. That love conquers.
Love will get us absolutely nowhere without action.
I am tired. I am tired. Do you get why that is bad?
I am not an immigrant. I am not Muslim. I am not a person of color, Jewish, or LGBTQ-identifying. And if I am too tired to speak up, stand up or show up, what happens to those who cannot? What happens to our planet at large, our wild spaces, our environment?
If fear, anger and sadness have brought you to the ground, make absolutely certain that you do not stay there. Get off your knees. Motivate, mobilize.
I know that a lot of you reading this are travel-loving outdoorsy folk, like me. And we’re a funny bunch. We love making ourselves uncomfortable. We go out (voluntarily) to climb really tall, scary things. We sleep outside in freezing temperatures. How many natural objects have you wiped your ass with? I can count a few. We thrive on discomfort. But when things get this kind of uncomfortable, what, we peace out and say we’re moving to Canada? No.
I am uncomfortable beyond belief, but I won’t even joke about leaving this country because of it. I am not going to leave marginalized groups to fend for themselves right now, just because I can– just because the privilege I grew up in allows me to make that choice. I am not going to leave the issues of this planet, and its limited resources, to fend for themselves right now.
I will not tune out. I won’t make light of very real issues. I will not write “love wins” on this chapter and close the book.
Yes, I will take care of myself, I will spend time with my friends, and I will remember to laugh, but only because self-care is also vital in doing this work.
I feel wobbly, do you feel it too? I feel flattened, do you feel it too? I recognize that I am not where I want to be in this fight, but I am getting there, and I hope you will meet me somewhere along this road because it is long as hell and people have been asking many of us to get on it for a long, long time. It’s not their fault that we’re just seeing it now. Get. On. That. Road.
When you believe in the call that comes out, join in with the chorus demanding change. It must be a rallying cry that listens to one another and demands inclusion in the process.
The discomfort will not stop– neither will the work. It doesn’t go away just because we think about it, pray about it, or post about it. It doesn’t go away because we decided we were gonna love each other more– it’s uglier than that sometimes because it is disruptive, and that often is not pretty. What is happening is important. It is uncomfortable.
Does it seem like it’s going to be a lot of work? It is and it will be.
I will speak for myself: I know that I cannot be silent. Don’t tell me that love can conquer. I know that love has won many battles. I fucking know. But I believe that love will only win if we partner it, thoroughly and intimately, with action.
Our love is only as strong as the impact it drives. What side of history will you be on?
Spare me the “love wins” stuff. Spare me the moving to Canada stuff. Organize. Move into action. Fight for what is right.
— Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) November 9, 2016