In all of our different emotions and reactions to the results of the US Presidential Election 2016, we must remember that this is America. An America where the next President lost the popular vote, yet again, and was voted in by a little more than 25% of eligible voters. An America where the Electoral College funnelled the people’s choice into a pick for a candidate who peddled xenophobia, misogyny, and racism. A candidate who has used his Twitter account to hurl insults at others. He who threatened to jail his opponent. He who wants to weaken libel laws. He who expects every critic, every detractor to bow down to him when he becomes President.
What is that? You didn’t vote for him because you were with her? Ah, but you did. You were not with her fervently enough to denounce what he peddled. What? You didn’t vote for him because you chose or wrote in a third-party or chose not to participate at all. Sorry to break it to you, he is the result of your conscience. And now we have you. You who is celebrating because you did vote for him because you said you would or because you did so “secretly” but insist today that you did so because of the unborn babies or the jobs that need to come back from China and that you could look past those bad things that he said and did, because you are not racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and especially not uneducated. Sorry to break it to you. You are.
Congratulations America. You have voted your conscience and the world has heard you loud and clear.
While I go through my emotions my heart still breaks for those of us who have been targets of hatred our whole lives because of our gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, and disability. Apparently, those of us who now feel victimised, attacked, punched in the gut, tipped over in our wheelchair, grabbed in the pussy by the validation given to this man’s words and actions through his election to the US Presidency are just being paranoid. Apparently, we should just move on.
I wish we had the privilege to be able to look past all of that and just move on. But here’s the thing. Our fear was not born on 11/9/2016. No. Because of who we are and how we look we have had this fear our whole lives. The difference now is that people who have never had to deal with being othered no longer have the decency to let us be. They don’t want us to occupy their space. Pray tell, how are we to move on when Day One post-election brought us many stories of people experiencing blatant hate?
I have heard our leaders and leaders around the world offer their congratulations and promises to work with the President-Elect…to give him a chance. I have to ask myself, to give him a chance to do what? When a person shows you who he is believe him the first time. ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the KKK are celebrating his victory. Seriously. Why do we owe him an open mind?!
I would have much preferred our leaders and the media to not have wiped the slate blank, to not pretend now that the hatred towards others spewed by this man for the better part of the past year didn’t happen. Do us a favour and acknowledge that the damage is already done. Acknowledge that our fear is rational. Don’t normalise this man who has asked his followers to assault others, offering to personally pay their legal fees when they do. This man who has bragged that he could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue, NYC, and his supporters wouldn’t care. This man who has made it clear that he doesn’t care about women’s rights, that the misogynistic patriarchy rules. Don’t just promise us that you will oppose sexism, xenophobia, misogyny, and racism in the future. Now is the future. For starters the President-Elect could own the responsibility for healing the nation and assuaging the fears of millions of Americans.
This is America. We the people voted this wall-building, pussy-grabbing, climate change-denying, tax-dodging, Obamacare-abolishing, Muslim-banning, political correctness denying, litigious person into the Oval Office. In the end, it is not even about him. It’s about us.
We all need to take responsibility for what has happened and we all need to reclaim our civility and politeness. Respecting one another is a good start. We can start laying the foundation for equality, civility, and justice in our families, schools, and places of work. We can do this as simply as opposing each and every single ableist and homophobic joke, and misogynistic and racist microaggression we encounter. Greater civic engagement in our neighbourhoods and communities is another. We need to create that culture wherein a candidate such that the GOP just gave us is simply unacceptable.
Kamala Harris, the newly elected U.S. senator from California, one of the historical outcomes of Tuesday’s elections, says “Do not despair. Do not be overwhelmed. Do not throw up our hands when it is time to roll up our sleeves and fight for who we are”. This is America. Our America.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Matthew 7:15