I’m at a loss for what to say to all of you, Smarties.
The results of this horrific election come on the heels of my grandfather's death less than 2 weeks ago. I’ll be honest – it’s too much. It's tearing me apart. And the cherry on the top of this shit sundae... tonight Leonard Cohen died. It’s all too much. Too much sadness and grief.
I’m finding that while I have brief moments of hope and the desire to turn the horrifying results of this election into positive action, I’m instead finding that I am completely and totally paralyzed.
And I know a lot of us feel that way right now.
I think many of us are experiencing a very real grief – we are mourning the loss of what we believed would be progress. We are mourning the loss of what we felt was hope. We are mourning the loss of a better world for our kids. We are mourning the loss of our belief that we matter.
It is a real grief, backed by real fear, and we have every right to feel this way. This is frightening. To those of us not in the majority – namely anyone who is not white, straight, cismale, Christian, or from America – the results of this election are devastating. There is a reason we’re afraid; we are in danger.
I’ve heard many people – primarily white folks – saying that protestors are just having a tantrum. That they are sore losers. That it’s ridiculous that people are protesting and making noise. That it’s a shame that people are getting angry and rowdy because it degrades the message Hillary was trying to send.
But how can we remain quiet anymore? I don’t support violence or hateful speech, but I also don’t believe we can remain quiet and calm any longer. It has been two days, and already we’re seeing the emboldened bigotry that has always existed rising up to the surface. It’s been two days, and my friends and family have had racist comments directed at them. It’s been two days, and hate speech and threats have skyrocketed. It’s been two days, and already the people who are largely unaffected by this election are telling the rest of us to calm down and stop crying.
No. We have to scream until someone listens.
So, Smarties. It’s time for some action. As desperately as I want to hide and cry and dig through this mountain of grief in front of me, I can’t. We can’t. Lives are, quite literally, at stake here. We have to do something. We don’t have the luxury of paralysis anymore.
We start with our words. Talk to people. Please don’t block or unfriend or ignore people who don’t agree with you. That is part of how we got where we are. If we never speak and listen to each other, no one can ever learn. If people are abusive and hurtful, you have every right to step away. But if someone is willing to speak to you rather than yell, try. It will be infuriating and frustrating and scary. Do it anyway, if you can. People who think that a Trump presidency is great need to hear why it’s absolutely terrifying for the rest of us. They need to hear about the racist, misogynist, xenophobic, homophobic, ableist language being tossed around. They need to hear it. And we need to tell our stories.
We follow our words with action. If you have money to donate, send it to organizations that support the folks most profoundly affected by the outcome of this election. Support immigrant families. Support LGBTQIA+ folks. Support organizations that aid people of color. Support women’s organizations. Support food banks. Support free clinics. Support the ACLU. Support The Southern Poverty Law Center. Support the politicians you believe in.
If you don’t have the money for that (and I am among you), then volunteer at these same organizations. Donate your time. Make phone calls. Stuff envelopes. Work in the offices. Work with the people.
If you don’t have time for that (and I know many of us have neither extra time or extra money), then get involved in your kids’ schools. Work with children. Teach them love and empathy and tolerance. Teach them how to speak with people who disagree with them. Teach them to work together. Teach them to be better than the world they’re currently living in.
We can’t afford to be complacent or silent or afraid anymore. There are people among us who can’t speak up, so we need to do it on their behalf. There are people among us who can’t defend themselves, so we need to do it on their behalf. We need each other right now. We need to be loud and insistent and we cannot stop until we are all safe.
If that means 4 years of screaming and action, so be it.