It’s OK to feel uncomfortable. Your feelings might get hurt. You might regret how you voted. You might feel like your vote didn’t matter. You might feel like you didn’t do enough. And that’s OK. This past election has been eye-opening for me. I went through so many stages and feelings and to be honest, I’m still processing everything that happened. I’ve experienced anger, sadness, guilt, bewilderment, and sorrow. As a writer, it’s cathartic for me to write things out, so if you don’t want to think about the election results then you can stop reading but I feel compelled to share my thoughts on it.
I am still so devastated about our new President Elect (I refuse to use his name) and I’m nervous for what he will do when he’s actually in office. I started this reflection the week we found out who won but I have just now published it because it’s been revised multiple times. I did not want my initial thoughts to go out into the world because they were very emotionally driven and bitter-sounding. I know that pointing fingers, obsessing over his use of Twitter, and demanding recounts is not going to help. We need to take action. We need to volunteer, write letters, and donate money to organizations. I wish I had done more of that in the months leading up to the election. I was naïve, optimistic, and frankly, surrounded by others who shared my political views so I didn’t even consider the fact that Hillary would lose.
I get that discussing the results is like beating a dead horse at this point, so I will refrain. As I begin 2017 I’m considering what I can do to combat the hate going on in the world. I’ve never been very politically active before and I’m unsure of what my next steps are, but I feel compelled for multiple reasons, being a woman, being married to an immigrant, being an ally to minorities and the GLBTQ community to name a few. I feel so strongly that this melting pot of a country is better when we respect and care for all people. And while it’s just a start, I can do two things easily. I can raise my voice to stand up for those who feel threatened and afraid after this election. And I can raise my sons to treat all humans the same no matter any differences they see or don’t see in someone else.
Because let’s be honest for a minute, racism exists. Implicit bias exists. White privilege is a real thing. It’s time to own up to the way some Americans are being treated in society and it starts with awareness. The real tragedy comes when people choose to ignore these things and put themselves above it all. No one is better than anyone else. We are all flawed individuals. And yes, racism and hatred existed before the President Elect was chosen but he ran on an extremely divisive campaign so it’s no wonder our country feels more divided than ever. If you perpetuate that, you are part of the problem. If you ignore it, you are part of the problem.
Society has taught me that as a woman I should be apologetic and bashful for being loud and confrontational but I won’t apologize for standing up for what is right. I won’t apologize for making someone feel uncomfortable. Get uncomfortable. Get so uncomfortable that you want things to change too.