I have been trying to keep my mood up all morning. I’ve been telling myself that life isn’t going to be that different with Trump as president, trying to bargain that at least I still have things to be thankful for - my boyfriend, my cats, Trader Joe’s yogurt. He isn’t going to build a wall. He isn’t going to ban Muslims from entering the US. What can he really do? The answer: he is going to ignite hate. The American people electing Trump as president sends a message that there are more people that care to be oppressors than there are trying to make change.
I’m not terrified that Trump was elected president and as a result he’ll have the nuclear codes or because Vladamir Putin shares the other half of his “BFF” necklace. I’m terrified because right at this moment, the government is still trying to take away land from Native American people. I’m terrified because there is an epidemic of murder against people of color by police forces across the US. I’m terrified because Muslim women are telling each other to take off their hijabs in fear for their lives. All this (and plenty more), and we just placed one of the biggest bigots on record into the most important job in the United States.
I have been living in a bubble that I have built around myself thinking that equality is within reach. I’m sad because that bubble burst today, and now I am faced with the disappointing notion that America is still a place full of hateful people. Kindness isn’t as valued as previously thought. It is apparently okay to target and hate a group of people simply because of their skin color, their religion, their gender, their sexuality, their ability, their identity. I want to hate them back, but I know that won’t accomplish anything. Change has to come from a better place.
My little sister texted me early this morning in tears of disbelief, anger, and concern for the future. I’ve heard tale of student bodies in colleges where people have come together simply to mourn. There are obviously people who care about social justice and who crave equal rights out there who are not happy with the stark reality of our social climate. Maybe progress slowed because we blanketed ourselves in the recent progressive victories, and from our cozy nests we couldn’t see all of the bigotry waiting down below.
No matter what, the election results have told us that now is the time to move. Now is the time to make the change that we so desperately want to see in this world. We need to stand in the face of hate and take away its power. We need to mobilize, because stagnancy will only lead to regression. Find your voice, and speak for what you believe in.