Thursday, November 10, 2016

My America is Broken, but it was Cracking Long Ago - My Thoughts on Election 2016

My America is broken, but it was cracking long ago.

No one saw this coming. Not the best political analysts, not the parties themselves, not even the presidential elects.

Neither did I. I did not think I would be making this post tonight. I know I haven't posted here in years, but there is now, more than ever, so much that needs to be said, and to continue being said. Not just said once and left alone.

But I do not come here today to grieve and mourn. I did that already. I might do some more of that later, but right now there needs to be more said about what happened Tuesday evening.

You see, I feel that for a long time many people in America lived on with this belief that we were living in post racial society, anti-sexist, a place of true democracy and freedom. That racism was a thing of the past, held onto by a small minority, immigrants were welcome, and that women and men were equal.

But the actual events of the past few years paint a different picture of America. The high number of murders by the police, extreme conservatism weeding its way into every aspect of our society from the War on Women's reproductive rights to even climate change denying, has shown us a side of this country that we wanted to believe didn't exist.

The election only made these things much more apparent. This is America 2016, where what you thought were relics of a bygone era, have flooded into our present day like a swarm of angry wasps.

The voters were divided in every sense of the word. Divided by race and ethnicity, class and wealth, party lines, state lines, rural versus metropolitan, gender, age, the list goes on and on.

Trump supporters were older White folks and far-right shifting young White men. Clinton supporters were young, women, POC - in varying degrees. There was the working poor supporting or at least sympathizing on either side, but in that respect, those of the working class poor were clearly divided by both race and ethnicity on the two sides.

Also saddening was that no one really had full trust in either candidate. This includes myself. I voted Hilary, in a state that has not been anything but Blue for decades, it didn't really mean too much, but for the sake of what was at stake, I was with her. I was never against her, but she was not my top choice. I was overconfident she would win and save us from Trump's dangerous rhetoric of hate and bigotry, and when she didn't, for a moment my world crumbled around me.

And then I realized it didn't just begin to crumble...there were already cracks in my world to begin with. The Trump win was the hammer plummeting down to smash it to pieces.

But hear this, though he is hammering at the walls of my very existence at this very moment, I'm standing strong, plastering the cracks and crumbles and reinforcing the foundation. The hammer will hit harder, the bulldozers will arrive, the wrecking ball will be threatened, the dynamite will ignite, but I'm not going anywhere. I'll rebuild everything he and his supporters destroy of mines. I will help others fix theirs too.

As a marginalized person in America by that of race, sexuality, gender, and hell, perhaps my love for alternative clothing too, I've got a target on my head. They want us gone. We apparently threaten everything that's good and right in their eyes. But why?

This is what happens when you basically ignore the needs of a huge population of America. In times of past and present, they are referred to as the "forgotten ones", the people who had the most to lose when the country takes a rapid step towards progress (even in the quest for equality.) Many, liberals included, abandoned middle America as a lost cause, as backwards folk, and other more insidious terms, instead of helping to bring them up too. They were left with their racist, sexist, and bigoted ways and no one even attempted to change that view. The division remained for decades and was simply ignored. Thus, this large group retaliated in fear, fear of the unknown, what would happen to them in progressive change? Would they have a place in society anymore? Did their needs and beliefs matter? Their fear was taken advantage of by a narcissist who manipulated it into a sharp dagger into the heart of this country. All common sense and compassion lost, only to remain in what is referred to as the "good old days", when the "Wholesome White Christian Nuclear Family" was the one and only norm and there was nothing questioning that.

When that is threatened by the POC melting pot that isn't always hetronormative, isn't always devout, mixing together and sharing in liberal thinking and elevated prospects that they simply have no concept of...what happens?

Sure you might say, "but they are all racist bigots anyway, who needs them?" But that's not really the case. Many of them voted for Trump because they felt that they didn't have a choice and followed party alignment. Many ignored the nasty things he said, turning a deaf ear. Not that it's right or any better, absolutely not, as that still makes them sympathizers. When you ask them why they were voting for Trump, many seemed like they didn't really know why. Some did because they hated Hilary (also some, for reasons they didn't really know.) And a little less that that, they voted for him because they were just as, or even more, hateful than he is. That says a lot.

Then when I think of why I voted for Hilary, it was more so because I didn't want hate to win. Her platform only upheld a small portion of my beliefs and represented only a part of what I needed her to be.

So with this unprecedented and unexpected result, I ask myself, what now?

First off, take a minute everyone to count your privilege.

  • I live in a majority POC neighborhood in New York City where my beliefs relatively line up with those around me, not all, but enough to keep me remotely ok. We must all remain aware however.
  • Though as a queer women, outwardly that isn't always apparent by my looks when I'm alone. I'm femme identifying and visibly so as well. 
  • I have a huge support network of like minded friends and family behind me that we can all rely on one another. 
  • I have a creative career where there is enough people surrounding me that at least generally or overtly align with my beliefs. I cannot speak openly about everything, but enough to keep me sane. 
Some people don't have any of this. Some people have so many more strikes against them. Some people, have all the strikes against them. 

The hate is spreading, from people pulling off hijab, calling people n****r openly in the streets, and men implicitly declaring that they have the right to grope women now because of the example Trump has set. 


Little kids are afraid they and their families are getting deported. Little kids. 

As I'm writing this, it's hitting the 24-hour mark since the sad news came to light, and the protests have began. People are angry. I'm angry. I hope that my people are staying safe, but I worry for them, and for us. 

I believe, it's time to fight. No matter what the outcome would have been, though yes this is one of the worst possible, there's a lot of work to do America. This is not just their country, this is our country too. 

I emphasize the word too

No, it's not ours to take back, remember that's the rhetoric that got us here in the first place. 

We need to exert our freedom just as they will to try and oppress us and bring us down. But we also have to listen and know what got us to this deep dark place. 

All of us with our crumbling walls? Well guess what, when our walls crumble, they will topple like dominoes and set off a chain reaction that will bring the whole country down.

So more than anything, we can't let our walls fall, instead we fortify and fight on. The work isn't done yet, it never was. We can't take the easy road this time. 

It's not going to be pretty. It's ok to be afraid. It's ok to want to run away, some of us have to. But if you stay, fight the good fight with us in any way you can. We are here to support each other. 

Signing off, in hopes of a brighter tomorrow. 

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