This didn’t feel like an election. I’ve voted in elections and weathered their results, for better or worse, for 28 years. This felt more like a relationship breakup, or the death of a loved one. I’ve also weathered those – the shock, betrayal, grief, anger and disorientation. The waves of shifting emotion punctuated by brief spells of clarity and euphoria. The being unable to sleep, or unable to get out of bed. But instead of cards, hugs, time off from work and casseroles, we’re given millions of people celebrating this death. They gleefully flaunt it in our face and commit violence in its name.
For weeks, I’ve been trying to pinpoint what I – we – are mourning. I’m not naïve. I know this country is still steeped in the racism, sexism and homophobia it was founded on. It’s not a whitewashed, romantic view of the United States that’s died, nor faith in fellow Americans or humanity. What’s died is hope – hope that reason and facts would prevail. Hope we were ready to evolve. Hope there were enough of us. Hope I was wrong.
This loss of hope feels familiar. I remember the exact moment I “woke up” to the reality of my marriage. We were in the kitchen, and as my husband delivered some troubling news, I heard and saw a huge glass wall shatter and crash to the floor in my mind. I suddenly realized neither he, nor our marriage, was going to change. It was time to get out for my safety and well-being – and I did.
What’s going to make this new world difficult is unlike an abusive spouse, we don’t always know who the enemy is or where they’re lurking. There’s nowhere to escape, and no end in sight. However, getting clear on the following ideas will help progressives stay awake and focused as we decide how to show up in a Trump world.
One, we don’t want caring or “tolerance”. We want people to leave us alone and get out of our way. We don’t want to get anything, we want abuse and mistreatment to stop. To stop killing us, raping us, groping us, harassing us, targeting us, passing us over for jobs we’re overqualified for, paying us less than others doing the same work, preventing us from marrying those we love and barring us from quality healthcare and housing. To stop treating us as less intelligent, capable, worthy, and human than we are. To stop ignoring and dismissing us when we say this is happening – we are the best judges of our experience. Ignorance and good intentions don’t erase harmful impact.
Two, their fear of what might happen is not equal to our fear of what is happening. Keep reading!