On Tuesday, November 8th, I pulled google and CNN up on my phone. I texted my brother and watched as states turned red and blue.
My brother kept assuring me that he wouldn’t win. He’d been telling me for months that this country wasn’t stupid enough to elect Trump. But I grew up around the people who voted for Trump***. I’d felt the dread set in when he recieved the Republican nod, I knew we were going to lose.
When Trump went over 200 and Hillary was still sitting in the range of 170-181, lead settled in my stomach and I started to cry because, I knew it was over and that he was going to win.
There were still votes to be tallied, but I felt my eyes misting over. When he was announced as the winner my world stopped. Then I read his plan for his first 100 days (though what he will actually be able to accomplish remains to be seen and this article helped me find hope) and I had an anxiety attack. And then I wept. As the stark reality set in I felt like I wasn’t safe anymore. I stopped telling people to have a good day, but to be safe. I worried about my sister and my friends and my family more than I ever have before. I wept for the Muslim people, practitioners of Islam, which like Christianity is a PEACEFUL religion AND just like Christianity is being perverted to justify a hate group’s existence.
For those of you who don’t know, I live in the US and I’m a very liberal democrat. I’m rarely outwardly patriotic and I think my country has a lot of work to do. I’m not a fan of nationalism, I’m also not arrogant enough to scream out that America is the best country in the world. I’m most patriotic when the Olympics happen because I love Gymnastics and Swimming. So while I may not be super patriotic I do know that I’m damn lucky that I grew up here. I do think this is great country.
Learning to have pride in where I come from is a lesson was one that was hard won.
Growing up I hated where I was from. I live in the Bible Belt and, at an early age arrogance and prejudice was directly and indirectly taught to me through the church, microagressions, and things I was too young to see the reach of. I have said some pretty awful things in my youth, things I would never say or repeat now.
I was very lucky to meet my best friend. If anyone were to ask how Joel changed me, I couldn’t begin to answer. Because without knowing him, without watching him struggle with loving himself and learning to be a proud gay man, I would have been a product of the church environment I’d been deeply entrenched in. I would be someone I hate. Joel made me question everything I’d been taught was ‘right’ and I know I’m better off for it. And, sixteen years later, I know I’m still learning from him and very lucky he’s in my life.
I’ve always been inquisitive and curious. I’ve never been complacent to accept someone else’s answer and had to know why. I want to understand. From my varied group of friends I have learned acceptance, tolerance, and a lot about love. The people I surrounded and surround myself with teach me something everyday from my friends to my family and the people I don’t consider friends anymore.
When Trump won. There were people that laughed at my grief, friends that didn’t understand and I don’t begrudge them that. However most of them did. Crying with my brother, talking to my NSLP, hugging my sister and nephews because they’re here and I want them to be safe, tackling Joel in a Big Lots parking lot, I learned I was very not alone. On top of that, two celebrities posted something before Trump won that impacted me and reaffirmed that I was right to be scared. My feelings were valid and my grief was too.
I said if Trump won that I would move to Canada. However, I’ve changed my mind. America is MY country. Moving to another country to escape this bigot would mean he won, that I’m giving up my home to a bigot. It means that I stop fighting and accept the future he wants to build. Spoiler alert: I don’t support it. I will not let him win. I will raise hell, within my legal rights guaranteed by the constitution. I will stop saying I because I’m not alone. WE will overcome this. WE will heal the hurt that caused this monster to get elected. Because that’s why he won. He tapped into the outrage and hurt of a lot of people and capitalized on it. Trump has built his life on capitalizing on other people’s misfortunes. Why should we expect any different?
George Takei, who is freaking amazing, wrote a Facebook post that went viral, as he is wont to do. I don’t have a Facebook, but I read the post in full in this article. I wanted to share a part I found particularly moving with you:
We will win when we come together as a nation, rather than divide along our perceived differences. We will win when we hold true to our core values and embrace our diversity, rather than scapegoat some. We will win when we engage, learn, and remain open to new ideas and innovations. I am 78 years old, and I am still learning and progressing at each opportunity I can.
On this Election Day, we take happily for granted what was so hard fought, and what so much of the world is yet denied. I urge you also to participate in this great democracy through your votes, your dialogue, and your love of this society. My family lost everything when this nation lost its way, but that has never stopped me from believing in America’s potential or from fighting for its principles. Together, we will win.
There are other countries who are going through similar upsets, such as Britain, that are offering comfort and bafflement and support in the wake of Trump’s election.
However unless you live in America with me and mine, you don’t know what’s at stake. Personally, as a woman, I am very likely to lose the right to decide what happens with my body. As a demisexual panromantic woman, if I ever fall in love with anyone who isn’t a male at birth I will not be allowed to marry and have that marriage recognized or receive the partner rights that come from it.
Trump and Mike Pence (who I loathe more and we aren’t getting into that here) are going to put a judge on our Supreme Court as a replacement for the late Antonin Scalia and he has promised that they will replace him with someone who will overturn Roe vs. Wade and Marriage Equality. Roe vs. Wade was the pro-choice ruling guaranteeing my right to abortion should I choose that as well as an abortion if giving birth will kill me or any other expectant mother. This reality is very very hard for me because, due to my pre-existing health conditions, giving birth WILL kill me. This man, this man who supports conversion therapy, who doesn’t separate church and state, and DOES NOT EVER HAVE TO CARRY A CHILD TO TERM is going to make sure I can’t decide what happens to my life or body.
As a disabled person, my access to healthcare is in immediate danger which puts my physical health at risk and can be deadly in terms of my mental health. I wrote a post on bipolar disorder, which I suffer from along with PTSD and an Anxiety Disorder, here which details how important it is that I receive my medication and be proactive about it. My brain isn’t “normal” and when I don’t have the medicines to make it function correctly I become actively suicidal. I’ve contemplated suicide when Trump won. I wouldn’t do it now, but if I hadn’t been on my current medication there’s a very high chance I might have. Yes I am responsible for my actions and suicide isn’t the answer. However when you’re mentally ill you don’t function on a ‘normal’ level. You function on your normal and it’s a battle. I want to be able to go back to work and school and I don’t think anyone should be allowed to discriminate my capabilities because I’m disabled.
They shouldn’t be able to discriminate against anyone based on their race, sexuality, religion, or anything that makes a person ‘different.’
Another celebrity posted something on Instagram that puts my own and others stark realities into perspective better than I could:
I don’t feel safe anymore. As it stands, what Trump plans to do within his first 100 days in office is sickening and will take away many rights that guarantee safety to anyone who isn’t white, straight, or male. Because if you aren’t a straight white male you ARE a target.
When Obama was president it was, to be honest in the term of every president we’ve had since the eighties, wrong to be racist. It was there. The sentiment existed, but it was shameful to believe that publicly or act that way. People revealed it behind closed doors or in a KKK hood, and white nationalism/neo-nazism wasn’t something you advertised. Actually one of the people being primed for a position in Trump’s cabinet is the former head of the KKK. But during this election and with Trump’s incumbent presidency, people are openly hostile. Muslims are being harassed and parents are asking their daughters not to wear their hijabs because some people think it’s okay to harass them and, in some cases grievously injure them. Women are experiencing a spike in sexual harassment. And, perhaps in one of the most ironic actions, people are threatening minorities with deportation even when they’re LEGALLY here.
I say this is ironic because America is built BY immigrants. Christopher Columbus came to this country and took it from the Native Americans. Immigrants, entitled immigrants, put my Cherokee ancestors on the Trail of Tears, taking their land. They committed genocide. Every person in this country, unless they are 100% Native American, is a product of immigrants. People deserve the opportunity to better their lives and the lives of our children.
Martin Luther King Jr., a famous civil rights activist and great man, warned us long ago:
“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”
As I sit here in my room, I know that I cannot be complacent. I must do more in support of Planned Parenthood, I must continue to be an ally to #BlackLivesMatter and have the hard conversations about white privilege with people who don’t believe that it’s real, I cannot stay in the closet because I’m scared, I have to speak out for those of us who deal with mental illness, I must speak out against sexual assault and share my experiences, among other things. I cannot be silent. I don’t get the luxury of feeling safe anymore.
I must never stop learning. I must confront racism and correct my behavior if it’s problematic. I need to remember that, in a lot of cases my voice should not be the loudest in the room, I should direct people to the people affected by injustice because they deserve to be heard and not written off by sterotypes. Most of all I can’t stop fighting and I must never lose hope.
I am scared. I don’t feel safe. But I’m not alone. If you are in America and, like me, are at a loss of what to do? Start here.
I leave you with this sentiment and this promise:
If you wear a hijab, I’ll sit with you on the train.
If you’re trans, I’ll go to the bathroom with you.
If you’re a person of color, I’ll stand with you if the cops stop you.
If you’re a person with disabilities, I’ll hand you my megaphone.
If you’re an immigrant, I’ll help you find resources.
If you’re a survivor, I’ll believe you.
If you’re a refugee, I’ll make sure you’re welcome.
If you’re a veteran, I’ll take up your fight.
If you’re a LGBTQ, I won’t let anybody tell you you’re broken.
If you’re a woman, I’ll make sure you get home ok.
If you’re tired, me too.
If you need a hug, I’ve got an infinite supply.
If you need me, I’ll be with you. All I ask is that you be with me, too.
❤ The Lady Lynx
*If you voted for Trump I do not hate you and I will not hate you. I am not a hateful person. I hope that whatever reason, whatever hurt or religion or prejudice or judgement led you to vote for him is healed and that your mind is changed by amazing, good, and hardworking people like my best friend or George Takei or any person that gives you a different perspective. I don’t think you’re all deplorable. I’m upset you made this decision for this country. But I will not hate you. Because if I hate you I become just as bad as the KKK or the Family Research Council. I will try to treat you with the kindness and respect everyone deserves no matter how much your beliefs have hurt me and those that I love.