My mother, having grown up though Nixon and surviving under Reagan (which is when I came into the picture and the world!) once told me in her infinite and experienced wisdom that there are two things you should never discuss in a crowded room: politics and religion. “Both bring out the worst in everyone,” she explained to me. “And no one ever agrees. It just comes down to who can yell the loudest.”
But I take after my father- opinionated and not afraid to let the world know exactly what’s on my mind at any given time. It’s gotten me in trouble plenty in the past, and I’ve incurred the wrath of more than one or two people who didn’t like what I had to say- but I never, not once- backed down or fell silent. Freedom of thought and freedom of expression are fundamental rights in this country, and one that many women in many other countries do not get to have, let alone actively practice. For that reason- I embrace them and exercise them daily- even in the face of adversity (usually because of my gender) and even when I am threatened or endangered for it.
This blog is a lot of things: a scrapbook, a cookbook, a journal and maybe even a memoir- but the point is- it’s mine. It is my one corner of the internet where I can be myself, unapologetically- and share my life, what I’m thinking, and how I’m feeling. And following Tuesday night’s election results- I can tell you I am feeling pretty sad- but mostly enraged. A fire has been lit beneath me and within me- and I’m ready to fight.
I’m sorry, mom- but I need to talk politics for a minute.
I grew up in a liberal household. From a very young age, my parents instilled in me the ideals that I could be anything I wanted- provided I worked hard and never gave up. I was raised to not only value but to also always demonstrate kindness, empathy, and acceptance for all races, religions, orientations and economic backgrounds and/or circumstances. A quote- from George Washington Carver- was popular in my home:
“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”
I was also taught to stand up to bullies- to fight against injustice, intolerance, racism, sexism, bigotry- and hate. I was encouraged to not only defend myself, but to defend those around me who could not defend themselves from the uglier side of humanity. For that reason- I started my legal career. I wanted to help people. I wanted to do my part to make sure those who used fear, aggression, and violence to seize power and control or harm others were held accountable and punished accordingly.
And now we have elected perhaps one of the most ignorant, the most intolerant, and the most aggressive and repulsive of cowardly bullies to lead us as our next President. His supporters- frothing at the mouth at every despicable and reprehensible word that dribbles out of his mouth- have attempted to steamroll those of us who are shocked and appalled into being complicit with their animal-like behavior since the start of this ugly, messy presidential race leading up to right now through the post-election haze many of us have found ourselves in.
And I cannot and will not stand for it.
I have been a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton for a very, very long time now. I know she was and is not perfect. Like the rest of us- she has flaws- but her strength and capability as an efficient and thoughtful leader surpassed any overblown e-mail scandal the media hyped up. She has composure, class, viable plans to better our country- and most important of all- experience. Hillary Clinton has years upon years of experience in public service and in politics. I felt safe voting for Hillary because I knew I would not get someone with the temperament of a toddler who did not want to eat their vegetables at the dinner table and who actually had some idea of what her position would entail. I had no hesitations about entrusting Hillary with my future- our future- because I knew she would fight hard to get things done the same way my parents encouraged me to fight hard to achieve my own goals.
Instead, an admitted sexual predator, a racist who would not denounce endorsements from hate groups like the KKK during his campaign, a bigot and a bully (and possibly someone guilty of treason given his ties to Russia)– with no political experience, with questionable business practices under his belt, with impending CRIMINAL TRIALS looming on the horizon, and someone with no real plan of action to actually “make America great again”- is going to be sworn into office because angry, conservative and mostly white men couldn’t bear the thought of an overly-qualified woman being President after our country had an intelligent, poised, hard-working and immensely likable black man in the Oval Office for two terms. It was just too much for them- and an actual monster won the election as a result.
I shouldn’t even say Donald Trump won. Hillary won the popular vote, but the archaic concept of the Electoral College tends to screw us all over every now and then. A man with less votes than the other candidate still becomes President for a reason that is beyond me at this point.
I feel like Rick Grimes when he wakes up from his coma and the world had completely gone to post-apocalyptic Hell.
I digress. I took to social media to voice my frustrations with the results and my despair at what it meant for our country’s future. As a result- I have incurred the wrath of Trump supporters across all facets of the web. I have been insulted, harassed, threatened with violence and on two separate occasions- threatened with rape. I have attempted to engage these very same people in a dialogue to better understand their rampant hatred for Hillary and their support for Trump. I have asked them to specify the ways they feel their candidate was qualified or offer insight into how they felt he will “make America great again”. Each request, much like the way Trump dodges answers about his policies or plans- has been met with deflecting attention to Hillary’s e-mail scandal and with hurling obscenities and personal attacks at myself or anyone else who dared question them.
I repeat: This man has no plan for our future and his supporters are blindly eating it up anyway.
The night before the election, following one of my tweets unintentionally going viral after I compared voting against Trump to being a real life Marvel superhero (I was participating in a hashtag game in jest, I should mention)– I was bombarded once again by Trump supporters. I was called every name in the book: whore, cunt, bitch- you name it. I decided to return the treatment in kind and began openly mocking and humiliating those men (and yes, they were ALL MEN) who had tried to bully me into silence and who tried to strip me of my voice and my opinion using intimidation tactics.
Their response? I was immature and mean-spirited. The very same men who were threatening me and calling me a cunt could not take being made fun of on a public forum.
Why is it, that me- a woman- cannot defend myself using the very same low-blow methods their presidential elect uses on a regular basis? And then I realized that was why: Because I’m a woman. And I realized why it is that they hate Hillary so much. Because she’s a woman, too.
These are people are deciding the future of our country and it is appalling and horrifying.
I am also disappointed by those who voted for the third-party candidates “out of conscience”, those who wrote-in joke candidates (like Harambe, for example) or those who didn’t vote at all. This election was so close- and each and every single vote could have made a difference. Not voting or throwing your vote away unnecessarily has cost us all. Dearly.
As a woman- I am afraid for the direction this man, his fellow Republicans, and his followers will take us. I am afraid that I will be stripped of the rights myself and so many other women fought so hard to achieve. I am afraid that “grabbing women by their pussies” sets a dangerous tone for men to treat my gender worse than usual by limiting our worth to that of being purely sexual- but I am also white- and that gives me leverage in a country that seems to be not bothered in the least by a sickening white supremacy mindset running rampant.
I cannot even begin to fathom how my minority, Muslim, disabled and LGBT friends and family members are feeling right now. My fear is nothing compared to what they must be experiencing. I am at risk for sexual assault, humiliation, my right to make choices for my own body being taken away and my hard work and deserved pay to be undermined and compromised. Those groups I just mentioned are at risk of all those things AND potentially losing their lives, too.
I cannot stand for this. As someone who values human decency and who got into law to help others- I can’t sit back and simply let things like this happen- and I hope anyone reading this feels the same way.
So, what do we do now? We take action. We rally. We protest (peacefully.) We participate. We make phone calls and we write letters to our elected officials. We petition. We do everything and anything in our power to block any attempts being made to interfere or endanger our lives, our livelihood, and anything that will slow or halt the progress we have made as a country to date. We pay attention- and we never stop paying attention. We watch everyone- from our President, to our House of Representatives, to our local mayor to our meter maids. We make our voices heard anywhere and everywhere we can and we do not back down when those who do not agree with us try to silence or stop us.
Most importantly? We must stick together. Those of us who are vehemently opposed to Trump, what he stands for, and his followers’ thirst for violence and for division must have each other’s backs. We have to look out for each other. We have to keep one another safe. We have to show them- all of them- that they cannot intimidate us, break us, or make us disappear. We are here to stay and we are going to change the world by rejecting their ignorance and their hatred and coming back stronger than they could have ever imagined.
We must not let The United States of America be set back 8,20,40,100 years. We must push forward. We must continue on our path so that our country is not the laughing stock of the world but something to be respected and admired again. We must salvage our reputation by driving out the fear, racism, sexism, and xenophobia that has gotten us to this point where we have allowed a reality TV star and corrupt businessman with shitty hair to become the face of our Nation. We must educate his supporters to the best of our ability. We must fight for equality for everyone- and we cannot stop until our work is done.
Love really does trump hate, after all- and so does intelligence, perspective and common sense.
We’re gonna’ need all the luck and good vibes we can get to make it through this. Godspeed.