I’ve seen countless takes on what happened two days ago. I don’t think that there is any singular answer regarding why things went the way they did: Economic anxiety, identity politics, economic anxiety leading to identity politics, blind partisanship, misogyny, the DNC fucking up their campaign, a poor choice of candidate; these factors all likely contributed in some capacity to the perfect storm for Trump. And it doesn’t really matter right now, anyway.
What does matter, as my friend Anna pointed out, is that we can’t be complacent. While I no longer live in the USA, I’m not going to be so ignorant as to think that “this sort of thing could never happen here” (look at the nonsense about “Canadian values” that Kellie Leitch is spewing, for example). I volunteered in the last Canadian federal election, and I plan to become more politically active going forward. I hope you’ll do the same.
Music uniquely allows us to cope with our emotions. In the last two days, many people have reminded me of this Leonard Bernstein quote, originally regarding the assassination of JFK, but particularly apt in light of this election, as well:
We musicians, like everyone else, are numb with sorrow … and with rage … But this sorrow and rage will not inflame us to seek retribution; rather they will inflame our art. Our music will never again be quite the same. This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.
Music and politics have forever been deeply entwined. I reached out on social media for people to share music that is politically-driven. I created a Spotify playlist, and I’ve been listening to this music almost non-stop. I’ve found it to be cathartic. Most of it is angry, intense, vulgar, and emotionally raw. And that’s the point.
Others have responded by saying “art is all well and good, but how does that help me keep my health insurance? When do I get to be mad?” This is absolutely right, too. Now is the time to get mad: make art, but also volunteer, protest, donate money to worthy causes, educate, and show compassion. If we can do this, as Kendrick Lamar says, “we gon’ be alright.”