I didn’t sleep last night, as, I’m sure many Americans didn’t. I am a rage of emotions. Confusion, disappointment and anger. So very very angry.
The car salesman who polished the turds he was selling did a fine job convincing scared white men that the items he was pedaling were viable products.
Time will come to pass when that same salesman will show his stripes and step on the heads of the good intentions of those who believed in him and destroy them too.
But I will not be screaming at the top of my lungs, “I told you so.”
I will be there to hold their hands and offer solace. To show them the real work that has already begun, that will continue and the strength with which it grows.
One man is not the voice of a nation. We are the voices and no matter what, at the core of it all, we are all scared. We are scared because we are broken. And no one is going to fix us until we do the work ourselves. We’ve forgotten that. In this new age of instant gratification, we’ve forgotten just how hard the work was, just how intense the dedication had to be to incite change.
There are cancerous tumors burrowing deep in our country. They come in the form of ignorance, disillusionment, sexism, homophobia, misogyny, and racism. After everything we’ve been through. After everything we’ve fought for. We still hate each other so much, we’d rather die pointing fingers, than rise up together holding hands.
I know I’m not the only one feeling this way.
Today I am feeling the need to ramble through my thoughts and find some solid ground I can stand on.
I wonder how many mother’s stayed awake last night, wondering how they were going to tell their daughters and sons that bullies win? That monsters are real. That 50% of the country our children live in can turn their heads while others are beaten down, mistreated, targeted, and hated.
My heart broke as I looked for wisdom in the social media-verse. Women and girls scared to leave their houses because they wore hajib’s, worried about violence that might be done to them. Parents who actually thought to keep their children home from school out of fear because of the color of their skin. Articles for teachers and principals on how to explain to their student body that even though the bully won, their school would be a safe place. That the teachers would be supportive of their race, religion, and sex.
I am horrified that in this day and age, such articles even need to be written. I am sickened to my very core. Are there those who truly don’t see the similarities between the climate in our country and things like the Nazi regime?
There is a sense of hopelessness that has eaten away at me all evening and into the early morning.
But I am not a defeatist. I will not be silenced and I will not be stagnant. There is work to be done and I’m in.
There is always something that can be done.
There is a slight ray of hope in Congress. There was a reason that the founders of our country did not give all the power to just one man. Even if the man in question does not think the rights of the constitution apply to himself; the hope is that the checks and balances will fortify.
But I can no longer sit and complain. I am only one pair of hands, but I can begin to work.
And there is work to be done.
I have a voice. I have fought hard to find my voice and I will rise it up and join others.
I have to believe that “One whisper, added to a thousand others, becomes a roar of discontent.” – Julie Garwood.
I am reeling, but the great thing about social media, is that I’m not alone. And there are so many others who will rise up and stand for the liberties this country was built on.
I was thinking about Susan B. Anthony a lot yesterday and last night. She fought for women’s right to vote, she fought for the abolition of slavery, and the right for women to own their own property. She started her fight in the late 1800s and died in 1906. She never got to vote.
But yesterday, because of her, every woman is allowed to go to the polling station and vote her own mind. And because of great strides of women like her, the first woman ever ran for president. And yesterday four women were voted into the Senate. That fact, in and of itself isn’t so terribly strange in this day and age, but these women were all different ethnicity. One was Japanese American, one is of Thai and Vietnamese heritage, one is of black and Indian American heritage, and one is Latina.
The voices are there. The victories can continue to grow.
I think it is sad that last night was an overwhelming exercise not only in the discrepancy among the citizens of this country, but that there is still a population that are unwilling to see a woman in a position of power.
There is still work to be done.
But amid my anger and my fears, I must believe that discontented voices in living rooms can become movements and products of change.
I have been scouring the internet, twitter, Instagram for strong voices to comfort me. Because the golden figure-head that will stand in the white house will never stand for my person, my position in this world or my beliefs. I have taken solace in the words of Nelson Mandela:
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death:
Susan B. Anthony:
“It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union…. Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.”
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
I also found hope in the words of Chuck Wendig, one of the most prolific writers I’ve ever known, and a man who I respect. He talked about his own anger and disappointment, and as a writer what we can do.
“Art can be our way forward. Our writing, our vision, our ideas put out there, our heartsblood put to whatever medium we choose. If ever there is a good time to let art be subversive, it’s now. Get weird. Don’t be safe. Have a message. Bring it forward and into and through the work. Some of the best art, the best fiction, is stuff that has teeth, that’s willing to bite the hand that takes away its food and its shelter and its rights. This is a good time — once you’ve mourned the country you thought you lived in — to hunker down and make something. To resist through writing. To occupy your world with story, song, game, and art.
Your voice is now more vital than ever.
(And then, when the time is right, use that voice to vote once more. Because if we were reminded of something obvious last night, it’s that votes matter.)
We’ll be okay as long as we remember one another, wherever we are in the world. Help each other get through this. It’ll be okay even when it’s not, if we’re here together. It’ll be okay as long as we push back against the normalization of the septic social ideas that have infected us during this election cycle. And once again I feel torn, because I am very afraid, but I also know that fear cannot rule the day, that fear cannot be how we move forward. Fear is how we move backward. Best to you guys, and thanks for reading, wherever you are.”
In Mr. Wendig’s twitter feed, I found a fellow author who had this to say.
“We can emerge from darkness, but only by vigorously, defiantly affirming one another’s humanity. According to Islam, God is ‘al-Rahim’ – the most merciful. I believe in God’s mercy. But whether or not one shares that belief, we can choose, together, to believe in redemption. In human decency. We can save our soul – whether we take that term to mean our character as a nation, or something more mystical – but we must do it together.”- Saladin Ahmed
So today, I’m going to try to do good things for my neighbors. I have no words of wisdom other than to tell my friends and family I love them. I will console myself with my heroines, the women who’ve come before me, who’ve fought, who’ve persevered and I will find my own courage to stand up for what I’ve been silent about for far too long.
And I will write. I will use my power and write. Starting with the most precious thing in my life.
My Precious girl,
America is broken. The world is broken. And it seems humanity is broken too. I watched these past months, a nation refuse to educate themselves. A systems where money is king and a fraction of the populace are so scared and ignorant, they just want their take of the treasure, no matter the devastation and destruction it will leave in the wake.
I watched a bully, who sees no value in the female race, in equality, in humanity, stand in a golden tower and scoff at the constitutional rights this country was built on. I am sorry, my precious girl. I brought you to this broken place.
Tears slip down my cheek and I want to wail, beat my fist against my chest and rage against the darkness, scream at the dying of the light.
I will be upset. There is a time for being upset. But my darling, there is a time when we must put the Kleenex on the shelf and get to work.
Because I will not be idle in my misery. Misery is fleeting.
I will not show you a defeated woman.
I refuse to show you a woman who will sit idly by.
Instead, I choose to teach you goodness. I will show you right from wrong. I will show you your value. As a human, as a woman, as an American. I will show you how to stand tall in the face of adversity. And I will show you how to roll your sleeves up, when there is nothing to do but begin the work yourself.
I will stand by your side and hold your hand as I tell you the history of the sisters who have come before you. As I show you the power of one strong voice, that can become a roar when joined by others. I will show you that.
We do NOT have to define ourselves by the actions of one bully of a man. But we can be one in a sea of many who love, create, strive and raise our voices until there is no option but to hear our roar.
My precious girl, sleep soundly and dream hopeful things.
Because our work has begun and we will move forward. We will not choose to go regress.