When I was little, my dad and my sister used to tease me for how much I cried at anything sad in a movie. I found this embarrassing, so I made myself stop crying at sad movies. While dating an ex-boyfriend I decided that his shitty actions didn’t deserve my tears, so I stopped crying. For the whole year of our relationship, I cried twice. I have spent the larger half of my life becoming too pragmatic a person to cry over silly things like dead dogs in movies or cheating ex-boyfriends...I can probably count the number of external events that have made me cry in the past year on one hand.
But when I woke up Wednesday morning to a world in which Donald Trump is our President-elect, I cried. When I began scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, reading all of the heartbroken statuses from friends who now fear for their safety, for the safety of others, and for the safety of our democracy, I cried. I’m not even fucking patriotic and this fucking election made me fucking cry.
I cried because I will be fine but others will not. I cried because the very pragmatism that I have held so dear for so long has failed in the face of hate. I cried because our country proved so divided that selfish impulses overrode simple humanity. I cried because those who will also be fine were complacent, felt that their vote did not matter and did not use it. I cried because people I call close personal friends voted for a man who wants to take away the natural rights of my other friends. I cried because they voted for a man that wants to take my rights away from me.
This election will have implications for years to come. We are going to try to normalize it, because that is how humans attempt to accept tragedy. We are going to qualify it, we are going to look for the positive in it. We are going to hold our breathe and hope that we make it through the next four years in one piece. We are going to do a lot of things, but as important as it is to push on, it is equally important to never forget.
We cannot, for a second, forget that we elected a racist, xenophobic, sexist man to the most powerful position in the world. We cannot forget that our future president has openly bragged about sexually assaulting women. We must, now and for the next four years, continuously face the fact that the very system meant to prevent such an election from occurring has failed, and that the very foundations of global democracy are under siege. We cannot pretend that if we just close our eyes it will all be okay, because it won’t. Complacency by the elite is the very phenomenon that has brought us here, and we must now more than ever take an active approach to change.
I feel like I try so hard to see both sides of every story. I do not speak on issues that I do not fully understand, I do not share or comment on articles that I have not fully read, and I will not unfriend you because your views do not match mine. But that is what has made today so hard. I feel like I listen and listen and listen, but as soon as I speak no one cares what I have to say. No one cares because I am a woman, no one cares because what I am saying might be different from what they want to hear.
There is so much to be said about this election and none of this even begins to touch it. But I will not stop talking about it. I will explore every angle of it and I will work against it and I will try my very best to make it right.
On Wednesday morning I felt like my voice had been ripped out of me. But I will spend the next four years fighting to get it back.