Wednesday, November 9, 2016

If you asked me this time yesterday why I would be spending the whole night crying, why I’m in tears right now, I would have told you that I was so happy to see love win over hate. To see bigotry smashed by inclusion. To see that hope is greater than fear. To see our first woman president elected.

My mom, my greatest supporter and champion in my life, told me to be careful with what I say and what I post on social media. I’m sorry, mom, I am too angry, too scared, too disappointed to not raise my voice in solidarity with those upset about the result of this election. I am aware of my privileges — my citizenship, the color of my skin, my sexuality, my education — I am aware of the protections they afford me, and I am aware that if I stay silent now, I become complicit in a system that has failed so many. I refuse to let fear silence my outrage and my hurt.

I didn’t expect the outcome of this election to hit me so hard. Mostly that’s because I didn’t expect the results to turn out the way they did. I didn’t expect half of the country that I love to vote for ideals so contrary and abhorrent to my nature.

I know people who voted for Trump. Good people, kind people. I know they had their reasons. Dissatisfaction with the current administration. Voting for a party historically aligned with their religious values. They shoved Trump’s bigotry aside or even agreed with it, saying “so what” and ignoring the pain it caused other people, because they didn’t feel like those things affected them.

I know people who voted third party. Who, when faced with two options they hated, refused to vote for a major party, even knowing that their vote could help usher in a victory for hate. I know some of them hold no qualms voting the way they did because Trump’s hate didn’t directly affect them either.

I know all these things, but there’s so much I don’t know. Don’t and can’t understand. I don’t understand how such a highly qualified candidate can lose against someone with no government experience. I don’t understand how a platform built around inclusivity and the tenable fact that all are created equal can lose against a platform that not only wants to deport so many but also wants to build physical walls to further isolate and divide us. I don’t understand how a country’s hate for one woman could be so encompassing that it erases all the undesirable qualities of the man running against her.

I’m not saying that Hillary is perfect. I’m not saying that we don’t need political party reform in order to attract better and more viable main party and third party candidates. I realize the the ideological limits of a two party system and the frustration of backing a candidate, an ideal, a notion that has a slim chance of winning against establishment politics.

Our system is broken and needs change and reform, and I know that I will do what I can to help fix that. But right now, as a woman, as the daughter of an immigrant, as a member of a diverse and beautiful local and global community, I am worried.

I am worried for the rights of all women. I am worried for women in the workplace, under respected and under paid. I am worried for sexual assault and rape survivors, who are blamed and victimized in our society of rape culture and “locker room talk.” I am worried for everyone’s access to proper and affordable healthcare, including access to birth control and safe abortions for women. I am worried for the minorities in this country, facing injustices everyday to try to get their voices heard. I am worried for the LGBTQ community, afraid of a government against who they are and who they love. I am worried for people with disabilities and those who suffer from mental illness, unable to get the help and support they deserve. I am worried for immigrants, risking so much in hopes of finding a better life in America. I am worried for refugees with no place to go and no home to return to. I am worried for Muslim and Hispanic communities. I am worried for women of color. I am worried for my friends, for my mom, for my brother, for myself.

I am worried for a country so divisive that it neglects the ideals and hopes of half its citizens. I am worried for a country of people too blinded by their privilege to empathize with those whose beliefs are different from their own.

I am worried knowing that people I know — people who say they care about me — voted for a candidate who wants to take away my rights and the rights of so many of the people I love.

I’ve read a lot of things today, but I am perhaps the most heartbroken from the experiences of parents and teachers explaining the result to their kids. Explaining how a liar and a bully could become the president. I am worried for the kids who live in fear because of this result.

While I allow myself this day for mourning, left in the numb terror of a future that allows for the prevalence of hate, I know I can’t let my worry, my heartbreak, my disappointment, my fear bind me to inaction. I cannot stand idly by to see the rights stripped from those who need them the most. I refuse to expose my future students and my future kids to a reality of hate and hopelessness. I refuse to accept a future without hope.

Today, I reach out to the broken-hearted, to my friends, for comfort, guidance, support, and love. Tomorrow, I fight.