Unlike most of my friends and colleagues, I was fairly sure Donald Trump would win the 2016 election (I was also sure the Cubs would win the World Series- stay tuned for a future announcement about my career change to Prognosticator). And yet, as I sat in Boston's Symphony Hall on Tuesday night, hearing about election return updates between pieces, I was still shocked.
It seems clear to me that, if you view the two candidates equally, the one who actually treats human beings as if they were less so, the one who seems to have the World's Shortest Attention Span coupled with the World's Thinnest Skin, the one who has no idea what's in the U.S. Consitution, the one who doesn't have any idea how government works, is NOT the one who should be elected leader of the free world. I am tired of hearing "Yeah, but Hillary's a crook" or "You should see what's in those emails". Frankly, I Don't Care. From what I've seen, all politicians have an interesting grasp on what it means to tell the truth- even my beloved Barack Obama- so a candidate's propensity for veracity is hardly a factor for me. We have elected a man who has normalized vitriol against non-Christians. We have elected a man who doesn't recognize that this country was built on immigrants (Donald, don't forget Melania). We have elected a man who views women as a commodity- and THIS is the spawning ground for sexual harassment and discrimination. This is the man- if he can even keep his mind on the job- we have elected to lead our country.
I could spend the rest of this post explaining that since only approximately half of all registered voters actually voted, and because of the intricacies of the electoral college, he was NOT elected by a majority of Americans. His election is NOT a mandate. BUT, instead, I'd like to go back to Tuesday night in Symphony Hall. My friend Maria and I were there to hear a premiere of a work by Eric Nathan, Brahms' Piano Concerto no. 1, and Brahms' First Symphony. It was during the symphony that the full import of the experience hit me: Andris Nelsons, a cherished immigrant from Latvia, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra were giving us the most treasured gift. It was a gift of the most sublime presentation of some of the most sublime music- music that has existed since it was composed and will always exist. All the art and music that has been created and that WILL be created will always exist. It transcends the immediate sadness and angst. It is there for all time to uplift and comfort. It is our spirituality, it is what makes us uniquely human. It cannot be taken away by anyone. It is what makes our lives worth living.
So, it is time for me to stop crying- if I can- and resume creating and teaching others to do so. It is our most powerful weapon, and we must always wield it with wisdom, imagination, wonder and awe. It cannot be taken away from us.