It’s now 5 A.M. the morning after. Today is November 9, 2016.
Last night, Matt and I fell into our own bed after nearly two weeks in the U.K.. He drifted in and out of sleep while I sat up in the dark, clutching my phone, watching the results roll in for who we the people of the United States of America would call our next president. My anxiety rose with the hour. At one point when midnight was less than an hour away, I allowed my phone to fall dark and I shut my eyes. I was trembling. I had added up the numbers over and over again. I knew what we were about to do.
I placed my phone next to the bed and laid down. I took medicine to not only help with the head cold I’ve been fighting, but to ensure that I would get some sleep. My heart was in my throat and there was utter silence all around me. I must have fallen asleep right around midnight on the west coast.
I awoke a few minutes after 3 A.M.. Matt was shifting and reaching for his phone. I sat up and did the same. For the next hour, I laid my head on his chest and we held onto each other. We read articles on his phone together, watched videos, and read comments from mutual friends.
On social media, people (some who I know) are sharing photos of “liberal’s tears” with joy. They’re mocking liberals and millennials, telling them to “go find their safe spaces.”
This is the part that I was anxious about.
We have told our country, our children, our adults, our allies, our enemies, our world that we would rather build walls than open doors, that we would rather be exclusive out of fear than inclusive out of compassion, that racism and sexism have a place in the White House.
The political implications for how we function with the rest of the world are uncertain. We will be represented by someone who has no political experience, whose temper flares at the slightest onset, and who has a string of bad business practices behind him. The world is in as much shock as we (those who didn’t vote for him) are. While in England, the conversation would come up, our thoughts on the matter, and the difference in media coverage between our countries. It would often end with “Surely your country won’t vote him in” and my response of “Well, Brexit happened.” Their smile would fade and they would always politely change the subject.
The cultural and daily implications for how we function…
This. This is the thing that terrifies me.
I’ve been shouted at while walking down the street, even WHILE holding my partner’s hand. I’ve been told about my body, in parts and in whole, and what someone I’ve never seen in my life thinks of it. I’ve been told to smile, show more skin, show less skin. I’ve been followed for a block because I didn’t look at the guy who called out to me. I’ve been followed for a block for looking at the guy who called out to me. We’ve just voted in someone who has shrugged off sexism and harassment and who has PARTICIPATED in it.
We’ve just told the guys who follow girls on the street, who whistle, who shout, to go for it. To keep it up. That their actions are acceptable.
This election tells those who threw out people at rallies with harsh words and physical violence because of their race, religion, or political viewpoint to keep it up. To cheer “get them out of here” to anyone who doesn’t fit the mold. Their actions are acceptable.
It’s now past 6 A.M. and the sun hasn’t come up.
I keep typing and deleting, typing and deleting. I keep typing out all my fears, all the social implications, and the progress I’m afraid of draining away. But the light is slowly coming into the sky and I see it.
So let me say this. I understand why he’s become the president-elect. I understand the reasoning of those who voted for him who aren’t hateful or violent, but wanted a political change. Who were fed up with our government. Personally, I do not believe these desires outweigh the social ramifications that have rippled across our nation.
So I will keep my chin up. When they go low, we go high.
I will not stop being kind. I will not stop being inclusive. I will not stop being compassionate. I will not stop believing progress is within reach. I will not stop supporting warriors and champions for social justice and change. I will continue to support girl power. I will continue to be mindful in every choice I make.
There are so many of us who are hurting right now. Who are lost and concerned. We are reaching out, physically and across social media, to cling onto one another. To support and love and cherish each other. I beg of you that this continues. That progress continues like the ocean coming to shore – it ebbs and flows, pushes forward, recedes, and pushes further.
The sun will rise.
And so will we.