Reframing victory, as Resistance, in this age of heroes

It is the day after, supposedly, but there are always days after, and fallout, and questions, and most certainly a battlefield to pore over and wounded to be tended to, and fingers to point, and results to tally. And elections yes. And a churning of this system, most flawed and enabled, and vicious. Victors, and concessions, and all of us citizens, supposedly, with voices and purpose, somewhere moving through this.

It is the day after, and most certainly, from where I can look out over this expanse, newly divided if I am to believe those in the king’s court, it is a time of heroes.

But immediately after, what we all look toward is who won, and who lost. And the House has been taken for Blue, and the Senate still controlled by Red, and no true balance in the Force, and each end claiming victories, supposedly hard fought.

I stepped back briefly, and like many of you, and my fellows, we all a disturbed nation family, and learned who had voted what way and asked why. Why had 77 percent of the White Georgians who voted in this election, 78 percent of White women who had voted, chosen more of the same in this supposed age of information. Why had 13 of Black male Georgians done the same? Why, yet again, had Black women been relied upon to steer a whole state, Georgia, toward a difference, and clear of the rocks of much of the same?

And yet, the heroes. Those of all ways, and places, and dialects.

While victories are counted in these races, so-called, there was far more to look through, and a battle cry still sounding loudly in Georgia, and a pound of flesh having been claimed and owned in Florida, and history made in Colorado, and a need to take a step back ever further, and look ever higher. For, something had most certainly changed.

I am a Clinical Psychologist, and I felt my craft calling me forward, demanding I see the ghost painting of this time, the one just below the frantic mural of this past day’s elections. Just beyond the wins and losses, and celebration and resentment, was the sound of it all. The chorus.

We psychologists traffic in this idea of Cognitive Reframing, and that notion kept forcing its way forward the more I spent time with this sea of results and emotions. Cognitive reframing involves identifying and then disputing irrational and maladaptive thoughts, beliefs and ideas. It requires that we re-examine evidence, and experiences, and beliefs in a fuller, more grounded, less toxic and defeatist way.

I forced myself to stop counting and tallying alone, and wondering after what might have been. I firmly assessed what was so clearly being born right in front of me, I fully reframed all of this, as you must, with urgency. As must these heroes, Abrams, and Gillum, and even Polis, and so many others.

A closer inspection suggested much of what I already knew, and even that needed reframing. What these, and every other election need teach us collectively, is that those most vulnerable, communities of color, and all of those queer and epicene, and the poor and all those facing erasure, is that there is no great balanced literal White knight riding in to join us in our various causes. None. We should stop lusting after this mythical beast, and continue the process of tilling our own community soil for disruptors, resisters and policy makers. We must continue the process of growing, supporting, and without reservation, pressing our very own organically raised leaders toward destabilizing this system. Full stop. We cannot continue counting on this system, all parts of it, to affirm our need to lead and change and craft our way.

Salvation is not coming from this system, or those who give blood and will to support it.

There are heroes already, grown in this time, out of necessity, in Pressley and James.

They are required in this time. For beyond wins and losses, is the necessity, the obligation, that all of these results, taken together, speak to a firm air of psychological and personal Resistance. The people, the broad, fluid, rich body that is the people, have indeed spoken.

Everywhere in these formally red homes, there was discord in voting. All over. Long time powers in the South, were challenged, are being challenged, for every inch of ground. The battle cry is still, as of this writing, being sounded in Georgia. Florida came down to just that one inch of land. The people everywhere, voted to resist. They have been given evidence, right back to them, just above them, living with them, that their voices are legion, and are still coming, bearing down, and inevitable.

There is a rage and shout in this time. Born of the people. Wins and losses, and their limited means of explaining our condition, can’t truly tell us of the means for how this body has changed.

You will hear word of our great divide, and how the fissure grows and heaves ever more, in this time. These are often the words of the abuser, and we should reframe our approach to these as well. We should allow ourselves to know that the divide was always the reality. That for the time that we were powerless, those halcyon days for our abusers, they took our forced silence for contentment.

We should allow ourselves to know that what they call a divide is simply us throwing off both yoke and tether, and dissolving this relationship, to craft anf brand a new one, should we so choose. What they conceive of as a divide, is truly our means of asserting our personhood. We need not seek affirmation in that pursuit.

More wins, all of the wins, would have been grand. No doubt. But we were never promised those, not yet, and ultimately, our greater selves needed to see that we can engage. That we can demand seats, and threaten positions, and assert influence. And confront. We did all of that, everywhere. We set a fire. We owned our right and need to Resist. Are owning it, are raising it, wild and vital.

For us, being who we are, and who we are ever to be, Resistance, and claiming more spaces, and reframing what leadership and purpose looks and sounds like, and scaling the walls and walking the halls, and pulling down the monuments, is victory.

Know that we will need to reframe it again. For there must be an understanding that evolving and becoming cannot be to replace these artifacts and relics of leadership with those who simply look as we do. Truest victory should involve throwing aside these bounds. And eschewing the privilege of the throne and status for leveraging an unbothered space for us all. We must not apologize for our understanding that Black women are future, and thus should lead us to it, and demanding that Black men tasked with leading consider the well-being of the communities that birth them over the pursuit of wearing that crown, and that all peoples of color learn to assert their personhood and have their voice, and that all the vulnerable live in spaces free of qualifying their being. Reframe, all of it.

It is the day after, and there has been progress made with regard to our resistance. And truths about our supposed allies and neighbors that we must never forget.

We will have ever more opportunities to push out and press forward all of this energy we have stored. We are allowed to grieve and process, and rage. We can know sadness, and escape as we need. We must, for our humanity, we must.

Then we will return, and fight again, next time, as is our way, apparently, in this age of heroes. And we should join our voices round that voice still crying out in Georgia. She is requiring that they carry her out on her shield, and we should honor her, now, and future.

Identify the next heroes in line. Feed and grow them. Resist. Learn what must be done and where, and ever, resist. All of this, all you have done, and will do, are victory. Forward.




I am a Clinical Psychologist, husband and father, Professor, lover of all things Star Wars, Wakandan refugee, TEDx performer, and believer in human potential

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Napoleon Wells

Napoleon Wells

I am a Clinical Psychologist, husband and father, Professor, lover of all things Star Wars, Wakandan refugee, TEDx performer, and believer in human potential

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