I’ve learned a lot about our country and our world in the past year, but I don’t think I learned enough. I learned about the bad, of course, inescapable as it was, but I, like so many of us, still believed it was a vocal minority. I’ve felt the effects of systemic and everyday sexism. I’ve seen the effects of systemic and everyday racism, homophobia, xenophobia, all the things that Trump espouses and champions, on friends and acquaintances, but I still, maybe naively, believed that when it came down to it, love would trump hate. Yesterday, it did not.
That makes me afraid, it makes me determined to fight back, but it also makes me aware of the bubble I live in. I grew up in a swing state that just went red for the first time since before I was born, I went to a progressive town for college, moved to a progressive state, and currently live in a progressive country. The Trump supporters I know are few and far between, and none of them would fit under the label of “deplorable.” And yet, outside of my bubble, a different story.
Those of us with the privilege not to fear speaking to those with views anathema to ours must do so. I’m sure there will be many who won’t be open to change, but (and here I reference what was, to me, one of the most shocking moments of the whole election cycle) if Glenn Beck can now publicly consider himself a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, I suspect there are many who might learn to reconsider what will make America great. Those of us with the privilege to step outside our groups of friends who believe in gay marriage and Roe v. Wade and multiculturalism and respect for all genders and religions without fear must do so for those without.
The map (see above) showing that if only millennials voted Clinton would have likely won by a landslide is a hopeful sign but also a sobering reminder that deplorable ideals have not, to be blunt, died out. It makes me all the more determined that we must not let our generation stray from a path of progression, and we must guide the younger generation onto that path. I still believe that love trumps hate, but I must now always remember that it needs our help, my help.
You must remember too. Not only you, us, Americans, but you, us, the world. Remember when we watched Brexit and thought there was no chance it could go through? Remember when you watched our election and thought there was no chance Trump could win? Imagine someone running for election in your country and says “We’ll send all the [Muslims / Eastern Europeans / refugees / Chinese immigrants / insert group here] home” and “We’ll make sure abortion stays illegal” (Irish friends) and “I’ll make your country great again.” You would hate this man, your friends would too. But do you know enough about your country to know that the rest would feel the same? I thought I knew enough about mine and I was wrong. Alt-right sentiment is rising across the Western world. Don’t be complacent.
I don’t feel hopeful today, so it’s hard for me to write about the good things that came from this election. The women born before suffrage who were able to vote for a female candidate for the first time. The women of color elected to congress. The folks who, in the immediate aftermath of the election, swore to do their all to protect their POC and LGBT and female and immigrant and scared friends and neighbors and strangers. The helpers, as Mr. Rogers would have said, who were and are ready to fight for our country and our world.
It may be hard, today, to feel like our country is worth fighting for, but that’s all the more reason to do it. I’m not ready to fight yet, I need to take a few days to come to terms with the fact that a man who thinks it’s okay to grab women like me by the pussy and take away our reproductive rights is the leader of our country, but I will be ready soon. And when I’m ready, if you’re not ready yet—if you’re still mourning the fact that the leader of our country wants to build a wall to keep your family out, to send your family away based on your religion, to belittle you because of your disability, to marginalize and mock you and incite hatred toward you—I will fight for you. And when you’re ready to fight, we will fight for us.
Here, from Jezebel, is A List of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations That Need Your Support, as a jumping off point.