Yesterday, it was so difficult to focus on anything important. I spent the day outside blasting Bad Religion, Anti-Flag, Cobra Skulls and a whole bunch of other angry political punk rock while raking my yard to within an inch of it’s green life. Today, it’s a little easier. I watched a few of the comedic late night news shows, read, wrote and responded to my friends on social media, reached out to friends in an effort to feel less alone, and had an amazing conversation with on of my closest friends. The night was capped off with the most amazing, informative speaker at my son’s school, giving an informative presentation on ADHD. Tomorrow, life will still go on.
However, that doesn’t make everything okay.
Trump won. I truly hope he doesn’t fuck everything up beyond repair. I hope he’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened to this country. I hope. It’s become almost a mantra to repeat this country has made it through worse, we can make it again. So the question for me really becomes: Why am I still so very unsettled and sad? Well, look at the cause and effect.
Trump’s campaign did what it was intended to do: It gave him the spotlight and attention he wanted. And he reveled in it, used it to his advantage. Every time we complained or tried to speak reason, we gave him more power. Trump put American dissent in a catch-22. Speak up, give him power, don’t speak up, feel even worse because how can one not speak out against the hateful campaign? And in doing so, it he opened the fucking gates of hell: American racists, misogynists, bigots and xenophobes were put into the spotlight, and he paved the way for their voices to be heard, for their hatred to be spread. Not only did he pave the way with his campaign, America put him the most powerful position. Whether intentional or not, we said his behavior is okay. It doesn’t matter what he does while in office regarding this matter; the gates of hatred have been opened, and, as a society, we now have to come together and clean up the mess.
I am not the most vocal about making my opinion heard unless directly confronted. Being a more reserved, shy person in my older age, I’ve turned to writing to get my thoughts and feelings out into the world. Some of us lead, other’s quietly back up those we believe in in a myriad of ways. Facebook is rife with dissent, heartbreaking with emerging stories of racism. The only thing we can really take from Trump’s hateful campaign is that there is a great number of people living in this society that are scary, and we need to come together to protect and build. The question becomes: How do we combat the ramifications of what we’ve done? How do we repair the societal split Trump caused and a great amount of people vindicated by voting for him, whether intentional or unintentional?
Trump in office will end. It might be okay, or it might takes years to repair the damage he does to the economy, foreign policy, human rights, and education. The road he paved to open hatred is what terrifies me. I am a straight, single white female, and though I may be heartbroken after Hillary Clinton’s concession speech and the ending moment during Michelle Wolf’s commentary on The Daily Show, my life will go on as always. However, so many people now have to worry about whether their present lives will change, and how they will face the newly VERY open road of hostility to those who are different.
What do we do? How do we get involved and change society and the preconceived notions that different is bad? How do we affect this change on a national level? I mean, in my home, I teach my child that though we are different we aren’t different in any way that matters. Skin color, disabilities, economic class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, lifestyle, gender identity, religion– these shouldn’t be by any means, EVER, what a person’s worth is judged on or what their worth is within society.Each person is complex and deserving of respect. WE ARE ALL HUMAN!! It’s so hard not swear right now, because I want to yell and swear and scream about the huge ramifications of such a hateful campaign!
How do we undo what Trump has given a spotlight to and as a country, we have, whether by popular vote or not, said is okay? I only have ideas, but I am sure there are active communities out there getting involved and vocalizing and trying their damnedest to affect a positive change.
- Contact community volunteer organizations-get involved in the community to spread the message that hate and intolerance won’t be accepted. Volunteer at a battered women’s shelter, get involved with a community political group and peacefully, albeit loudly, voice your opinion.
- Join larger groups, such ACLU
- There are always petitions to sign, books to read, and messages of tolerance to spread. Call out the hateful speech around you and volunteer information on why it’s hateful or insulting, and don’t get hateful back. Don’t perpetuate intolerance or vindicate a person’s hateful speech by being insulting back. It’s just more fodder to the fire.
- Stay informed, get educated, talk to people, organize, network
These are just some ideas that I’ve tossed around. I would love some concrete ideas, organizations (I’ve searched my own area, but I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for as far as community involvement). There are always politically active and outspoken people to get involved with, but for some of us, it is more difficult. However, I feel it time to try and push past the shyness and anxiety, so, as a nation, we can change the idea that hatred is acceptable, tolerable, or something we can simply ignore. In the next four years, we need to come together and vote a capable, experienced, open minded, intelligent human being into office; not someone who was elected on a campaign playing to our fears and our defeats, exploiting our human weaknesses, and giving hate a platform on which to stand.