Overcoming Darkness — What Light Can Do and What Is Left to Us.

I woke up this Diwali going straight to my phone to see if the midterm elections in the United States had come out so that goodness had overcome evil. I searched quickly for specific races I had given to and made calls for, and tried to find evidence of a rebuke of the President, a president who has made it very clear that he does not represent my interests and has no interest in representing all Americans.

I had been hopeful late into last night that enough would happen to show me that we are capable of overcoming the clouds of darkness over America right now, and he would be shown the same.

But that isn’t exactly what happened.

The results showed us that we are a nation divided, and that millions of Americans do not see a problem with our President. Where there was progressive hope, there was also profound loss. Over 100 women will be serving in the House come next year, the first LGBTQ governor was elected in Colorado, and Amendment 4 passed in Florida, but at the same time, Beto O’Rourke, one of the most real and inclusive candidates this election, lost to Ted Cruz in Texas and several Democratic Senators in swing districts who voted against confirming Justice Kavanaugh also lost.

On the day of election, many of my fellow South Asian Americans made their Diwali wishes known — that there would be a #bluewave and that goodness would overcome evil. As they shared their Diwali wishes, I couldn’t stop thinking about the role of light and darkness — how much can light really do to overcome the darkness of evil and ignorance?

This Diwali, I remain more hopeful than ever. Here’s why.

The role of light is to show us what is and what isn’t — light by itself cannot cure evil and ignorance, but it can illuminate, for those sentient beings with a conscience, what can be done to overcome such darkness.

This midterm election showed us what was possible with a mere two years of hard work by those who want to see progress and change in America. Remember, Rush Limbaugh’s radio show with conservative propaganda had a three decade head start to changing hearts and minds.

While what transpired in just two years makes me hopeful, the midterms also shined a light on the significant work we have left to do in making sure the moral arc of America bends towards justice and equality for all Americans. It showed us how much work was left to do to ensure voting rights, to move away from the politics of fear and division, and to show those who are afraid of a diverse and inclusive America, that it includes them too.

Indeed, mythical tales shared on Diwali share a common focus on righteousness, self inquiry, and the importance of knowledge, which according to Indologist and scholar of Religious Studies Lindsey Harlan, is the path to overcoming the darkness of ignorance and evil.

Given what we can now see, I’d ask you to join me on that path: take some time and focus on the self inquiry, to understand the importance of knowledge and real information in today’s world, and set intention to what you will do so that we are collectively on the path to overcoming the clouds of darkness (no doubt with small rays of sunshine coming through from yesterday) that continue to sit over the United States of America.