Yesterday was one of the single most disappointing days of my life.
To see the face of a man who represents everything I believe we have made progress against be elected the leader of our country made me mad. Mad in a way I have never experienced. I was shocked. I was pissed off that he did not win the popular vote and yet again our country's archaic system has failed us. I was upset at the people who stood idly by and let this hateful, sexist, homophobic person win our country.
None of these feelings were helpful. And for the most part, I remained quiet. I sat in our office, watched Hillary's speech, felt her pain and stayed silent. I saw my newsfeed flooded with the same anger and sadness I felt, and I equally saw it filled with gloating messages of hate. I felt helpless. But I remained silent.
I didn't write or say anything because I know politics is a useless argument to have. I remained silent because I am opinionated in a way that makes me feel I should "tone it down." And then I realized what bullshit thinking that was. When my grandmother was my age, she lived in a country where merely speaking your mind and disagreeing with the leadership meant you would almost certainly be shot and left in a ditch. As an American, as a woman, as a person who is free, I want to say that I feel disgusted, disappointed and ashamed of our country.
During this election, I've seen how much work there is to be done. I've heard good friends, people I respect and admire, say and support things that quite honestly shocked me. Women supporting sexist comments. WOMEN thinking it's okay for someone to speak in that manner about other WOMEN. Minorities who feel it's okay to have racism spewed at other minorities. SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF IMMIGRANTS actually willfully supporting a wall be built to keep people who speak OUR SAME LANGUAGE and are trying to escape the very fate THEIR OWN PARENTS DID out of this country. Many of my trusted friends came back and reported the exact same story: I thought I knew people. I don't know them. I simply can't know them if they would support a man who stands for this. To say that we are divided as a country is an understatement.
So, what happens from here? The truthful answer is I don't know. I want to believe that we can come together despite these very real differences, but I feel heartbroken. America is much more racist, sexist, unaware and divided than I ever thought. How do you rise above and support someone who believes in hate? I desperately want to know how. I want to be the type of person who can come together in a time like this. I want so badly to forget the sting that comes with seeing people be so cruel. I don't know how, but I want to try.
I want to hope that somewhere in his heart, this man will put aside his hate and do what is best for us. I want to hope that the people who can provide a balance for him do not give in to self interests, blind party loyalty or the securing of their jobs. I want to honestly believe that when these people are elected public servants, it means something to them. I want to truly believe it will all be okay.
So, how do we organize and do the work? I literally have no idea. The only way I know is not to remain silent for the sake of upsetting people with what I have to say. And that includes being accepting that other people, even people who I vehemently disagree with, get to share their voice too. The only thing we can control is ourselves. Be the change you wish to see in the world.
If you are disappointed like I am, know that I send you love. I feel your pain and I am sorry. But in order to fight hate, we must not spew the same hatred back. In order to expect people to be better, we must be better. And in order to make sure we fix this shit, we have to speak our minds and show up.