You know how occasionally from where you stand the view is comprehensible, but a little fuzzy? That if you just take a step forward or a step back it’s like small details have shifted into their right places and the picture becomes much clearer and focused?
That’s how I feel I have responded to the election and all its fallout.
Initially I could see what had happened,what we had done. But I was blinded a bit by my exact location in shame and rage. So my first reaction was to hit fast and hard with my thoughts and feelings, and I don’t regret it, however now that I’ve had time to take a step back I can see that it’s important to put all my passion and feelings behind being proactive versus just simply being angry.
The way I see it right now is that Donald may have won but he is not my President just yet. I have a couple of months left with President Obama and until Donald is sworn in I have the opportunity to do what I can to be vocal or call for change. The Electoral College itself has not voted yet and the petition asking them to vote for Hillary has been going around and making waves. It is a highly unprecedented thing to occur, but this election in and of itself has been highly unprecedented in so many ways so what’s it hurt to try. If we just sit back and do nothing the sting of her loss, the sting that we have let her and our country down only hurts worse in my opinion.
Now in the event no shake ups happen and Donald is sworn in, he becomes our actual President what comes next is vigilance. People seem to think that even if we oppose him we need to “sit back and accept it and have some respect” which for starters is ironic after the heap tons of crap most of these people have thrown at Obama in the last eight years, but also is simply not accurate. Accepting and normalizing Donald and his actions and his words and his promises is not what this country needs. It’s one thing to manage and deal with the fact that a man like him is our President and will be a representation of us, but that doesn’t mean we shut up and stop fighting.
All these protests are a great example of people using their voices and their rights to express how they are feeling. I think it’s wonderful to see so many people coming together and using a process that has moved forward countless moments and issues in our country. Of course we need to acknowledge that protesting peacefully is different from rioting, the destruction of property and throwing of things at law enforcement or people opposing what you’re saying isn’t right. But ultimately I think it’s a fantastic way for people to band together and make it known that we don’t accept the normalization of racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, white supremacy, etc. That we aren’t going anywhere and we will hold this administration accountable for any attempts to turn our nation into some backwards version of the country we have become.
On a personal level I know that this has awoken a part of me that refuses to be silent, or even quiet. In the past I have taken my privilege for granted and not said things because I didn’t want to stir the pot or upset anyone. I’ve been scared to fight back in some cases because people I disagreed with were family or friends and so I choose not to have difficult or uncomfortable conversations, but no more. I won’t stop talking about this election and what it means, what it represents, and what or who it can affect in extremes. I know some people have already moved on, it’s back to their regularly scheduled programming of life. But it’s just not that easy for me, every morning it’s one of the first things I think of when I wake up and I continue to think about it on and off all day. This has crashed into my life (and so, so, many others) and altered it dramatically, so it isn’t something I can just quietly accept and move on.
And I am so thankful that so many people are on the same page, getting to see people so engaged and ready for action is inspiring. Knowing so many other people are ready to hold Donald accountable and fight for what is right is a light that helps keep me focused and feel less alone. This last week has seemed exceptionally long and draining, but the strength to go on, to dig my heels in and fight is restored with each tweet, Facebook status, news article, and yes even silly memes.
I took a step back and it became clear that the path I needed to take is one where I don’t give up, we don’t give up. We don’t allow these things to become normal and commonplace, we stay vigilant and on top of things.
Let’s get to work.