18 months of a vicious and grueling campaign.
One day of voting and feeling like I had done my small part to make history.
One night of intense nail-biting, hugging my friends, and crying.
And congratulations to us all! We have a new president-elect.
To be honest, I’m not even really sure how to start this conversation. This past week has been filled with some of the most intense emotions I’ve felt in recent memory, both good and bad. I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that no matter what side of this election you’re on, shit has been crazy for us all. Tensions are running high and the strain is starting to show in some truly ugly ways. I’m working on processing it along with the rest of the nation (and, quite frankly, the world). This will take time, like all things, but I will get there.
Like millions of Americans, I woke up on Wednesday morning of this week terrified of what the next four years of my life were going to look like. I was shocked that the system had failed us- a system that, in theory, is supposed to protect us and provide us with the best and most capable humans to represent us as a united nation. But I didn’t feel represented- I felt hopeless. The electoral college votes had allowed a man who stands for everything I loathe in this world to be given a position of power. A man who has no political experience (lawsuits don’t count, sorry). A man who lied his way into being the Republican nominee…and then won.
I don’t get it, and yet, I do. But trying to make sense of the fact that this man could appeal to the middle-class white American who feels disenfranchised by the government is still difficult to me. And yet, it is not. I suppose I understand how a person could be enraptured by this man’s zealousness to prove the other side wrong, and tear them down in an incredible display of male bravado. I get that this appeals to some people. And if that’s you, then awesome. I am glad you exercised your right as a citizen of this country. Make sure you stick by your convictions for the next four years.
But here’s what I can’t get behind and why.
I’ve seen a lot of people on social media touting that they “are not racists” and they “aren’t sexists”, and they definitely “don’t hate immigrants”, and that “conservatives have nothing to do with the marked increase of hate crimes since November 9th”, and “stop lumping them in with the KKK”. Well friends, let’s break this down. If you voted for our president-elect, regardless of reason, your vote was cast in approval of racism, sexism, bigotry, hatred, oppression, and fear. And while I am FULLY AWARE that not all president-elect supporters ARE racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, etc, you must understand that the person you voted for IS. So while you may not identify as any of these things, you are accepting that you can overlook them.
And that’s truly what scares me.
Have we all become so complacent and wrapped-up in ourselves that we can’t see outside of the narrow vision that is our “president-elect”? Can you not see that what he has said about Hispanics is vile? How can you, if you are a woman who voted for him (and it was a whole fucking lot of you), be at peace knowing that your president DOES NOT AND WILL NOT respect you, your body, or your choices? How do you sleep at night knowing that you elected someone who is endorsed by the literal fucking Ku Klux Klan?
I was fortunate enough to have a human in my life get me involved in the protests that started the day of the announcement. I have actually never been to a protest before, so this was all new to me. And when I dwell on that for a moment, I feel badly about my level of civic engagement in the past. Was I not as active as a I could have been because I grew complacent? True, I’ve had eight years of feeling safe and respected with an amazing president (yes, I am willing to discuss his flaws- we all have them, we are all human), but has it made me soft? I remember being in college and working on the International Student Association board to educate people about hot button issues surrounding that community. I remember how I once felt about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I have always been an advocate for women and their reproductive rights. Where did that me go?
I guess it doesn’t matter now because, what I’m saying, is that I’m back. I’m here to show up with a voice, with a helping hand, with a kind smile, and with over-flowing love. And this is why I am so sad to hear and read about reactions to the Minneapolis/St. Paul protests.
While the protest Wednesday in St. Paul was wonderfully coordinated and well-attended, it was nothing like the following night’s Minneapolis gathering. It’s inspiring to me to see so many people turn out to express their feelings about what our minorities in this country might be facing in the near future. What I might be facing. What you might be facing.
So many of my friends on social media rushed to tell me how I was disrupting people’s lives, making things harder, and my personal favorite- that, had the Democratic nominee won, that the Republicans/president-elect voters would NOT have protested. They would NOT have said anything rude or inflammatory on social media. And they certainly wouldn’t be contesting the outcome of the election at every chance they got. And you know what? That’s fine. For the love of gods, voice your opinion. And if your opinion differs from mine, feel free to see yourself out of my life. I’m not worried about losing a few friends on Facebook. You know what I am worried about? My trans friends losing the rights that they have fought so hard to win. My black friends continuing to be gunned down in the streets simply for their color. My immigrant friends being subject to incredible acts of violence and extremism- such that we have not seen since the Civil Rights Movement. I am worried that so many of us who contribute to this great nation will be silenced simply because of our race, our religion, our sexual orientation, our nationality, and so many other things.
That’s what worries me.
And so I chose to use my voice to express the things that our president-elect will not.
I chose to make it known that I am a safe person to talk to, and I will help you no matter the situation or the cause.
Because I believe that immigrants have a place here.
Because I believe that Muslims are incredible people and contribute to our culture immensely.
Because I identify as a queer woman and many of my friends identify as LGBTQ and our rights matter to me.
Because I believe that women should have access to reproductive healthcare, have the right to choose what they do with their bodies, and how they can protect them.
Because I don’t believe it’s right to “build a wall” to keep people out.
Because I don’t believe that you can “grab her by the pussy”.
Because I don’t believe that you didn’t rape those women, but I do believe that you actually stated that some of those women “were too ugly for you to touch”.
Because I’ve dedicated my life to helping people with MI, CD, PD, etc and I will not stand to see their financial assistance cut.
Because I don’t believe that ‘Muslim’ is synonymous with ‘terrorist’. In fact, I know it’s not.
Because this has nothing to do with the “loss” of my candidate, and everything to do with the 60 years back we just set our nation.
And so many other things that I could get into, but won’t because it’s honestly just emotionally taxing to bring up everything our president-elect has said and done.
So, I’m sorry you don’t agree with me protesting. But know that I’m not looking for YOUR approval. What I am doing is beyond that. And I’m (not) sorry that you feel momentarily inconvenienced. I’m (not) sorry you got stopped on 94. Maybe you should use those moments to read this article. Hopefully, it will help you understand that your inconvenience is nothing compared to the inconvenience of thousands of people every day in this nation- and their lives that are at stake, while you complain from the comfort of your vehicle.
While we were out marching through the streets and shutting down I-94, news stations were covering it. And you know what was being said during the live feed of thousands of people expressing their collective grief over the state of the nation? Let me recap it for you:
“Mow them down!”
“Someone just needs to take a gun down there and shoot them.”
“Get a snow plow in there.”
“They don’t have jobs.”
“Maybe someone should throw some work boots and job applications down there and watch them scatter.”
“Your team lost. Go home!”
“GO GET JOBS.”
These are the same people who tell me I need to sit down and shut up because my candidate lost and their candidate is the one of change. I fear that change. And for obvious fucking reasons. Are you trying to make us feel more secure? I didn’t think so.
So, if you want to have a discussion about why I’m reacting to this choice in the way that I am, please come to me and we can have a civil conversation. If you don’t, bye Felicia. I will not stand for the hatred, the closet racism, and the disgusting acts perpetrated against the people of this country.
PS: If you are a president-elect supporter, it doesn’t mean that I think any less of you. I just wonder if you think any less of me for the 11ty aforementioned reasons. And if you do, we should talk. Keeping a line of open communication is going to be key in these next four years. I encourage you to open a dialogue with me.
PPS: if you need something to uplift you, here is MPR’s No Apologies track from today. It made me smile and I think you will too.