I think I speak not only for us Swatties, but for a lot of people out there when I say that I’m in shock. Every model, the Huffington Post’s, FiveThirtyEight’s, all of them, said Hillary Clinton would be our next president. I’m in disbelief. After perhaps the most divisive campaign in modern history, we’ve produced a president-elect who is endorsed by the KKK. We’ve produced a president-elect who brags about sexually assaulting women. We’ve produced a president-elect who has discounted and degraded those at the margins to gain popularity. And I’m scared. For myself, and for my fellow people of color, for women, the disabled, Muslims, and immigrants. I’m scared for all of us.
While many of us are feeling a whole range of emotions right now, I hope this piece can offer us a bit of catharsis. It’s very easy right now to point the finger and assign blame. Blame rural, white America for putting this man in charge. Blame the DNC for nominating perhaps the only candidate who could have lost to him. Blame the Clinton campaign for not focusing enough on Wisconsin and Michigan. Blame third-party supporters for handing the election to Trump. We can certainly play the blame game right now, and maybe that’s justified. Because we’re angry. We’re upset. But most of all, we’re terrified. We’re terrified about what Donald Trump is going to do to this country, and what his supporters are going to do to us. Already stories have come out about black students being called the N-word, vandalism of mosques and a black athlete’s car, and men thinking they can get away with sexual assault. So if someone tells us to calm down or move on, hell no we won’t. Our very livelihoods are at stake.
But in situations like this, it’s easy for us to get caught up in our emotions and lose our perspective. Some have been consumed by anger towards Trump and his supporters, walking through the streets chanting “F**k Donald Trump”. But that’s too easy. It’s too easy for us to just let loose our anger about the result of this election. We can’t do that. We have to channel our anger, our rage. We’re not just anti-Trump, we also stand for something. We stand for equality, for acceptance, for diversity. We stand for an America in which everyone, regardless of race, class, sexual orientation, or anything else, can thrive. We stand for an America that admits its wrongs and is a model for every other country on Earth. But most of all, we stand for a compassionate and loving America, an America that reaches out to those on the margins and holds out a helping hand, an America in which people treat each other with respect. Irrespective of the results of this election, that’s still the America we stand for.
It’s easy for us to feel hopeless in a situation like this. But in these dark times, we have a glimpse of hope. Last night, we elected Catherine Masto, the first Latina senator. We elected Kate Brown, the first openly LGBTQ governor. We elected Kamala Harris, the first black female senator since 1999. We elected Ilhan Omar, the first ever Somali-American lawmaker. Now is our time to unite as a movement not only to resist Trump and his friends in Congress but as a movement to continue standing up and providing a voice for the marginalized, for people of color, for the poor, for women, for the LGBTQ community. We have to march, lobby, and rally like we never have before, because so much is now at stake. Trump and his supporters often talked of “taking back” America. Well, we’re going to fight like hell to make sure that we keep it from him.
Featured image courtesy of History.com