It has been a long night for me.
Not (just) because of the election, but because almost immediately after my ankle pain/restless legs stuff started kicking in. It’s the worst it’s been in weeks. Perhaps all the walking and driving I’ve done over the last few days really set me up for this.
Regardless, I was going to be awake now anyway.
I was going to be writing my resignation from several committees at work – committees whose purpose in caring for co-workers and customers I really believed in. At first, everyone seemed to buy in on these programs – both as B2C and internal B2B programs. And then an inevitable incident happened: One of these programs called for constant collaboration regardless of position, and management didn’t collaborate when it wasn’t convenient. Workers got mad, I was asked to write a memo expressing this. This wasn’t the problem.
Resistance to the memo’s existence – requested rewrites, objections without clarifications, etc. – followed. Different workers got told different stories, rumors that management wanted the project killed, and requests for clarification via e-mail were ignored. This morning I meet with a manager “to straighten things out that cannot be expressed in e-mail”. I figure that this is a bad thing. I may still end up resigning from these committees. I still believe in these ideals, but I won’t support a whitewashing organization. That is, you have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. I will not lend my moral authority, my authenticity, or my support to an organization that claims to fill those roles – but does not truly do so. I’ve left bigger things than a committee because of that before.
But I am not writing my resignation now.
Late last night and early this morning, I heard a man ask for us to keep trying, to work hard and fight the struggles that come. I have supported this man wholeheartedly. I have annoyed friends and co-workers by talking about him, given his campaign money I could not afford, and spent time with them I needed to take care of my house, my job, and my classes. But I believe in this man, and believe he does walk the walk. He is a better man than I in so many ways, and though I do not always agree with his every position, he shows that it is possible to work together despite our differences. He shows that I do not have to be cynical all the time anymore, that sometimes I can trust.
I will probably have my hopes for my workplace crushed in a few hours. I will probably be compelled to leave these committees, to write the letters that are floating in my head.
But I will try once more.
And when that fails, I will keep trying. I will hold to my ideals, and I will do everything I can to live them, even if those around me are not.
Because now I’ve seen those ideals succeed. Even if I fail, even if I cannot convince others, I know that it can be done. That we can succeed and still treat other people as humans with feelings. That we do not have to give up our hearts or our decency to do well, even as the negativity swirls around us. It is frightening, but no matter what may come in the days and months ahead, we know that doing the right thing and holding to our principles can win out over fear, hatred, and negativity.
Yes. We. Can.
[Edit: The meeting went far better than I hoped for. Hopes and dreams seem to still have a place; decency and intelligence valued traits.]