Yesterday I woke up scared. Daily worries, irrational anxieties, and everything in between were distant and mattered no more. Should I expect protests on the subway? What if I couldn’t get to work on time and bring home the money I need? Worse, what if none of that even mattered anymore?
Is this how a person in a minority group feels every day? Scared just to be and express themselves, or afraid to speak their opinions in fear of shame and exclusion?
Instead of chaos, everything was quiet, a “deafening white noise,” as a close friend put it so eloquently and poignantly. I didn’t know how to process “President Trump” becoming a reality literally overnight. I stayed quiet where my opinions were asked; I offered nothing when I disagreed with what others said, and for those I am wrong and I will do better.
The morning opened with a friend and I discussing our incredulity at the voice of the American electorate. An unashamed and unenlightened bigot was elected as President of the so-called “free world” over an extremely qualified woman (with her own shortcomings), who would give hope to girls, young women, and other disenfranchised citizens everywhere that they could achieve amazing feats and even be the leader of the United States of America someday.
Rather, someone who spoke the words “grab them by the pussy” and dismissed it as locker room talk was elected to be the President of the United States. I don’t want that representation. Frankly, I don’t want to be associated with anyone who voted for Donald Trump to represent us as a nation. But alienation is not the answer. Patience, education, understanding, and empathy are. It is easy to be hostile towards someone who does not understand the pain they cause; but violence breeds violence and progress will not be achieved in that manner.
So how do we get from where we are to a better place? Or at least get on the right path?
By the end of yesterday I told a friend that I wanted to write something about the election but didn’t feel I should due to my being privileged, white, heterosexual, cisgendered, and male. People like me (read: privileged, white, heterosexual, cisgendered, male) got us all into this mess, so how could I really help affect positive change?
We can’t rely on the next President. We can’t rely on the next Congress. We can’t rely on the next Supreme Court. All we have is each other and our voice.
If you feel marginalized and hopeless or helpless and ineffective to enact positive change, you are not alone. But together, we are stronger; together our voice is mighty; and together we will soar above where we thought imaginable.
If you want to help and don’t know how, please let me know and we’ll make the world a better place, together.