I write this essay because it is my duty as an artist and citizen of this country. It is my duty to stand up against, not our new president-elect, but to stand up to everything he stands for and represents. To combat his hate with my love. I want to address something and make it very clear, for everyone, but mainly the Trump supporters in the back that can’t seem to understand why this is difficult.
This election was not about the candidates. It was about the platforms they have been brought to the mainstream. Opposing platforms. One based in love, hope, equality. The other, our new president elect’s platform, based in racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and misogyny. The despair that has risen is not about having elected a President we disagree with; it’s coming from the unleashing of wrath, anger, hatred, that is allowed to overtake our already great nation.
Election night will live in my heart for as long as I am breathing on this earth. It was the moment that rocked me, and what I for-see will shape me as an adult and artist. I sat in a living room with all types of folks, mainly women, both straight and queer. I won’t forget the collective sound of crying as our new president was announced. The tears that flew from our eyes as we sat in silence, knowing there was nothing to be done, except breathe and hold one another tighter than ever before. The pain was monumental.
I slept uneasily, and had nightmares of what the world would look like when I awoke. I woke up, dazed, and thinking about the strangest nightmare in which a deranged racist man was elected into our most special office. Only, this was no nightmare, this is now our reality. I began to cry again, the pain in my chest so unbearable, I couldn’t breathe. The sadness I was feeling had a sort of familiarity but I couldn’t place my finger on it, then a friend texted and I knew. It was heartbreak. I am heartbroken that the beautiful place that I was born in, that my parents were born in, has voted to ensure my erasure. This person, this man, this billionaire that has been elected by the “silent majority” is against me in every way that a person can be. I am a 2nd Gen Mexican-American Queer Woman.
This isn’t about liberals being sore losers.
- This isn’t about being upset that Hillary didn’t win.
This is about the fact that someone will now be leading the free world with anger and hate. This man could overturn laws that protect me and my partner and my best friends in our daily lives.
I could potentially no longer dine at a local diner. I might be fired from my job. I won’t be able to marry the person I share my life with.
That’s all on a legislative basis. But what about my personal safety?
What about the times when random white men speak to me and then quickly switch into broken Spanish so that “I can understand them better”? When will I stop being asked where I was born?
When will I stop being asked if my parents are legal?
When will my partner stop from being body checked by men as we walk down the sidewalk together?
When will people stop seeing racist homophobic rhetoric and start seeing me? Us?
That being said, I am devastated, but I am not afraid. I am not afraid because I live in a blue state where most of the folks around me believe wholeheartedly that love trumps hate. But for my QPOC in all that red, I worry for your safety. I worry about the little girl who hopped on her school bus this morning only to be told by a group of white girls “Shouldn’t you be sitting at the back of the bus today?” I worry about my brothers and sisters who live near the San Francisco home proudly flying the Nazi flag. I worry for the woman of color I went to college with who was sprayed by a water hose walking down the street in Venice, who was drenched until she moved to the other side of the street, where she sat in her wet coat and wept.
This is day two into this man’s election, and the venom is seething out of our broken divided states of America.
A friend told me he wasn’t surprised by this outcome. Saddened, but not surprised. He’s right. Love didn’t win this election. It was idealistic and maybe naïve to believe that there is more good than bad in the world. But here’s what I know to be true. Anger will usually win, because anger feels so much better than love. Author Janet Fitch wrote “Hatred? Now, that’s something you can use. Sculpt. Wield. It’s hard, or soft, however you need it. Love humiliates you, but hatred cradles you.”
And America? Well America has a long history of sweeping it’s problems under the rug and being cradled by the long bristly arms of hatred. We are, in every sense, a dysfunctional family, and we’ve just elected our abusive father to be the most powerful man on earth, hoping that he will love us, just after having beat the shit out of us. America has long been wounded, and confused, and just wanting to be heard. All of us just want to be heard.
The numbers don’t lie. The poorest of the poor, the whitest of the white, have elected this inexperienced billionaire to light the way. How that makes sense, I’ll never understand. But what does make sense is that he used anger to get to them. But for those of you who are angry and voted for this man as a part of the biggest white-lash this country has ever seen: Anger is reckless. It has no compass, no guide. It’s wild and ugly and primal. There might be no coming back, and that is the decision you’ll have to sit with for the next 4 years.
The mask has been removed to reveal the ugly foundation that is and always has been America. We are founded on genocide, on slavery, on theft, on blood. And we have just elected a president who has been endorsed by the KKK. The idea that we were living in a post racial America is a lie. White Supremacy has reared its shameful face, kicking and screaming to return to a time when anger ruled. This man promised that to you. He has encouraged you to “drain the swamp.”
That. Is. Not. My. America.
For those of you in my life who openly or secretly (read: Cowardly) voted for the new president elect, I ask that you open your heart and open your eyes. See. Truly see the result of your anger. Bear witness to the evil that has been unleashed. They say that when you expect the worst in people, they usually deliver. So I choose love. I choose that eyes will open, and you will awaken.
I am hurt. I am scared. I am heartbroken.
But I will not cower. I will not run. I will not hide.
My mere existence is a radical act. Resistance and courage and fight runs through my veins, passed down to me from ancestors bigger and braver than I. As I cast my vote for the person I thought was most qualified to lead our nation with love and respect, I felt as if I stood on the shoulders of ancestral giants. It felt good. It felt right.
But I realize that feeling was premature. Now, I must be the shoulders upon which my daughters will stand on, hopefully, to reach and bust through the hatred and racism and misogyny that holds us all
So until our sadness morphs into mobility and organization, today allow us the space to weep for those who are being made to feel less than. To you, my Muslim community, my LGBTQ community, my People of Color, my immigrant community, my women, I say –
YOU ARE FUCKING MAGIC.
You are love incarnate.
No amount of hatred or anger could ever dull the beauty that is your light.
You are being held in love and power.
And as my good friend reminded me yesterday, we need to see the darkness to know where to shine our light.
This was a phenomenal guest post form the one and only Natalie Camunas.
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