That word cannot even begin to explain. I feel like someone punched me in the chest and I’m trying to catch my breath. My eyes hurt from crying. I can’t think straight. How has this happened? How has a nation that has always prided itself on religious freedom and being a “Melting Pot”, on being a place for all people to come to for a better life, make this kind of decision?
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
How can we even say these words etched on the Statue of Liberty have any meaning to them anymore?
I wrote that paragraph yesterday, November 9th, after coming back from a class of primarily white men who weren’t affected by the night before’s results. I came back to my apartment, watched Hillary’s concession speech, and sobbed. Like, mascara running down my face, sobbed. (I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen to me before, it felt so dramatic. Like I was crying with purpose). And even though it’s only been two days, and my feelings are still fresh and still valid, I am starting to feel just a tiny glimmer of hope. There were peaceful protests all over the country last night. “Not My President” they chanted, and that gives me hope. Knowing that Hillary won the popular vote, that more than half the country wanted the most experienced candidate ever in the Oval Office, gives me hope. Knowing that there are so many people in this country that will stand up for what is right gives. me. hope.
It doesn’t change the fact that more than half of the country doesn’t respect the other half of the population (people of color, immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, women). They voted for a man who stood at a podium condemning all of these communities. It doesn’t change the fact that children of this country watched a man publicly humiliate so many people, and still rose to power. What does that teach children?? You tell them to be nice to everyone, while the future president of the country they live in is the epitome of a bully, of evil, the opposite of everything you tell them to be. How can you vote for a man that said he is allowed to sexually assault your mother, your sisters, you daughters, because he is a “celebrity”? Please explain to me how you voted for him or casted a protest vote, while your daughters, your sisters, your friends ways of life are literally at stake.
I’m trying not to dwell on these questions, because there is nothing that can be done. I’m trying not to dwell on the fact that some of my own family members don’t think I deserve the right to my own body, the right to be paid equally, the right to happiness. Even if they don’t say it directly, their vote says enough. That breaks my heart more than any of them could know. But I know I will not stand down. I know I’m surrounded by friends and other family members, even celebrities I don’t know personally, that will not allow this man to ruin us for the next four years. Hillary Clinton ignited flames in more than half of this country, and her losing this election does not mean those fires have been extinguished. We will not stand down. We will make her proud, like she did us.
“I may not live to see our glory, but I will gladly join the fight. And when our children tell our stories, they’ll tell the story of tonight. Raise a glass to freedom. Something they can never take away. No matter what they tell you.”