I woke up today to find out that an openly racist man has legitimately earned the right to govern this great nation. To say that I was devastated is such an under statement. And the sad part is that not for one second I thought this election must have been rigged. What faltered wasn’t my trust in the system, but in my own people. No country is governed by one single individual, so I knew that the despair I was feeling was somehow unjustified from a political point of view. However, what was at stake in this election went way beyond politics.
What I am mourning is the fact that almost half of the people in this country chose to ignore that this man has spoken ill about a variety of sections of OUR own society. And now, people have not only failed to let him see the consequences of being a racist, misogynist, bully. But affirmed him, instead. I spent my day trying to understand this logic. I cried. I thought. I read. I spoke. And I found no resolution. No comfort. Hopelessness soon became anger. I was angry at every single person that failed our people and voted for a troll whose speech is filled with hate, division, intolerance, and let’s not forget, “locker room banter.”
One person asked me why I was so upset. What was going to change for me? Well, I am a woman and Donald Trump has explicitly lowered women to a category much lower than the one he sees men fitting in. But that is not really what I am worried about. I am worried about anyone whose Trump has directly diminished and spoken against. My LGBTQ friends and their entire community that might lose all of the rights they dough so hard to conquer. My Muslim friends who are now afraid to wear the hijab in fear of retaliation. My refugee friends. My disabled friends. My black friends. My immigrant friends and so many other people that are now fearing for their safety and well being because a bigoted racist like Trump was validated with the highest honor of being our country’s president.
I felt ashamed, detached. I spent the day avoiding people’s gaze. Avoiding the empathetic side smiles and the small talk. It all felt fake. At one point I was so upset that I had to take a walk outside of my office. I felt reclusive, scared, suspicious. I found myself looking away from people. Those people represented a threat. Were they Trump voters? Were they the ones to blame for such anguish? And that was when I took a step back and decided to re-evaluate my own thoughts.
I had so many awful thoughts going through my head. I wished evil on all of these people that had dared to cast a vote against civil liberties and human rights. I then started to fear my own behavior and ask myself if I was right to judge these people with such hate. And that was what finally brought me a tiny ounce of comfort. Because the answer is NO. I have no right to hate them, because hate is hate independently of where is coming from. I have the right to heavily disagree with them and to continue to peacefully fight for what I believe in. And what I believe is that we should all learn to coexist. Ironically, that also mean coexisting with Trump voters. So if you are going to protest, do it peacefully.
I know this has been tough to swallow it. I’m still not even close to digesting it. I am actually not even sure where to go from here. I feel completely without direction. All I know is that the fight for equality can’t die. For all the Trump voters that are now saying Democrats and Liberals are being sore losers and should be accepting of Trump, I invite you to also reflect within yourselves. Minorities have a legitimate reason to be fearful. Come January 20 the oval office will be filled with a man who has the willingness and now the power to affect the lives of all minorities in a terrifying way, so it’s unnatural to expect these people to quickly accept that and move on. We will all need time to recover from this slap in the face. I know I will.
In the meantime, let’s not lose heart or grow cynical like MY president Barack Obama urged us to today. Let’s act as true government watchdogs and start paying attention to the things that matter. Who are your legislators and what have they been doing? In just a couple of years you will have a chance to vote for you House representatives and some of your senators. Let’s make it count. Until then, let’s not despair. And most of all, let’s not be violent. Protests have already started to happen and violent episodes have made me even more discouraged about it all.
Lastly please, don’t believe this, “the country is now divided” crap. The country has ALWAYS been divided. Election times just blow it all up and make the division more obvious. We have TWO parties that are known for being polar opposites, so of course there’s division. What we can agree on is to try to respect each other regardless of our political views. But again, I urge you to never give in an inch when it comes to the pursue of “liberty and justice for all,” because basic human rights go way beyond politics.
To quote MY candidate, Bernie Sanders:
“To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.”