America is used to being the center of attention. It’s known for good things like freedom and power and Hollywood blockbuster movies; and for bad things like war and fast food, and now for reincarnation of Hitler that is “president” Trump.
I don’t know what has happened in the eight years since America historically, proudly and bravely elected their first black president, Barack Obama, but what I do know is that this election took the country back to the worst parts of its white, xenophobic, toxicly-masculine roots.
As the protesters fill the streets alongside the trump-supporters, and American parents and teachers have difficult conversations with their American children of all denominations ages and genders; all I can think is that I feel helpless and isolated.
Well, I’m thinking that – and that I should stock up on canned goods to get me through the winter in case Trump crashes the economy in the next few months. And farther down the line, that he and his climate change-denying ass makes the world so hot the crops fail and the price of food spikes to record highs (again.)
As a white person from a different country I feel a mix of shame and relief that I can only think must mean I and people like me are in a unique position to step above the anger and emotion that the groups most affected by the out-dated attitudes that have burst forth from the skin of American society like a whitehead (or hood) from hell and work towards not only keeping the hate from our doors but also to take a stand to help the world see why decisions based on fear and hate and exclusion are wrong and need to stop.
We’ve had these leaders before. The ones who fear ‘the other.’ The ones who put down the disenfranchised, the weak, the uneducated and the poor instead of lifting them to their full potential. We have had these leaders before, and we have toppled them.
We have evolved past them.
Humanity has never been perfect, but our capacity to record and look back on history is what will save us from ourselves. As long as we can find the strength within ourselves to admit what makes us angry and afraid, when we can name the poison we can find the cure.
Most often that cure is found in information. It is found in welcoming new cultures and ideas, in seeing past the physical shells we all abide in and just getting over the superficial bullshit of who is sleeping with who, whose skin is darker or lighter than whose and what’s between someones legs so we can focus on the things that all people always need.
Sometimes life sucks. But giving power to people who say they’ll deal with the things that suck by excluding some people and taking away the rights of others just doesn’t make sense. To deport people you don’t like, to force people to love in secret and and to keep down half of the population because of their gender takes up so much energy and money and effort that could instead be spent making the lives of the people safer, healthier and better educated.
I suppose maybe I’m preaching to the choir. The only people who will agree with me are the same ones who simply could not believe that Hillary did not win last night. But to those of you who think I’m wrong, think about the last eight years. The years we spent looking at an America run by a black, feminist president obsessed with healthcare. He may not have been perfect. He may not have made everyone happy. But look at what he has paved the way for in the most contentious election of a lifetime.
History did take six steps in the right direction last night. Maybe not all at once. Maybe not for the position that matters most. But that’s not nothing, and America needs to cling to all the hope it can get its hands on right now.