There are a lot of things I have been waiting for – just sitting here, waiting for things to happen to me, for me, for people to care, just because I am me. As if for some reason I am just going to luck into this dream thing that I have been playing over and over again in my mind. I have dreams that extend out to every corner of myself, ones that tap into the most secret parts that almost no one has really seen. Dreams that sometimes feel like they will never come.
I’ve taken some time this week to process the election and really allow myself to go through the emotions I was holding at bay – the facebook posts, the messages of hugs from friends in response to the debilitating fear I felt waking up to find out that Trump had won – and the numbing silence of the people in my life who never really think about me, well clearly not enough to reach out, not enough to check-in, to say hello, to be there. That last one is something that I am trying to remember will always happen – no matter what – that type of silence, the one that lives in the cracks of broken relationships – that silence is perhaps the worst type. It never really stops hurting.
And so with some time and reflection I want to just say out loud, in full disclosure, I am not ready. I am really not ready for this reality. It is not as if I was not aware of the deep routed hatred that lies in the heart of this country, but seeing the numbers…seeing how many people were able to put another beings human rights aside – to not care about the millions of people that would be more than negatively affected by this man’s presidency… I mean that — how? How do we even begin to wrap our head around that?
I had a friend tell me she refuses to believe that all Trump supporters have the same belief system as he does, but my response to that was a simple one. Let’s say they aren’t overtly like Trump. Maybe they are average Americans who go through their days just trying to do their best. Maybe it was for the promise of jobs, or his stance on the military, or just the fact that he was not a part of the “system” that appealed to them. Even if that is so, even if they are not overtly like Trump, you cannot deny the message that Trump sends. Trump gave a voice to the –isms that live within all of us; the biases that so easily become a part of our most basic selves. He emboldened that voice with his rhetoric and behavior. He stood as a model of hatred for people who through the years have systematically pushed down and tried to hide the history of their actions against marginalized groups. Simply put, Trump made it okay to openly hate, discriminate, and wish/do harm to entire populations of people – that cannot be separated or portioned off. It was in every word he spoke; twisted masterfully into every promise he made.
I do not believe that all Trump supporters are overtly racist, homophobic, sexist, bigots. However, I do believe that the mere fact that they were able to look passed Trump’s rhetoric and behavior is a clear sign of their privilege. Honestly, if you can sit there, watching Trump and Pence stating plans to diminish the rights of various groups, demeaning them, ridiculing their very existence, and still believe he can be a President to all the people of this nation, you are privileged. You are a person who can hear these terrifying things and say ‘okay’ because it is not going to affect you on a daily basis – your life won’t change dramatically — your civil and human rights will remain intact – you—you my dear will continue through these four years unscathed – able to walk around freely without fear for your safety. That is a privilege. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not it is right there – floating in the space between us – the space that only grows larger when we don’t talk about it. Believe it or not it has always been there – it is just larger now and everyone, including those who previously were unaware of the day to day challenges of these communities and the hatred that lives within this country, can now see it too.
I just finished reading through the transcript of Trumps 60 minutes interview and I find it ironic that a man that built a campaign off of calling his opponent a liar every chance he could is now trying to back pedal his way out of what he so ardently stood for throughout the entirety of his campaign. Are we really supposed to sit here and believe what he is saying, that he wants to unify the nation, make us stronger, when he just spent over a year and a half dividing us, breaking us down, playing groups off one another for votes and photo-ops? That interview was full of moments where he cut off the interviewer, brushed statements under the rug, and directly contradicted promises he made not more than a few days ago. This is the man that I am supposed to trust with my rights? This man who chose a VP that admittedly stands against my community and our civil rights on the basis of his religion despite our countries separation of church and state? This man…this man will never be my president.
You may disagree with me or scoff this off as someone who is being too sensitive, but we are here, we will fight, we will resist. We need to stand up to the inevitable battle that lies ahead of us – advocate for ourselves and those who stand with us. We will come together to face the fear that this presidency imposes on our livelihood. We are genuinely better united. Let us fight their intolerance with peace, respect, and veracity.
Let us rise up —
Let us stand strong —
In the end it is up to us to close the gap between where we stand now and our dreams.